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NSW Casino Regulator Strengthened with Interim Measures

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has announced a number of practical interim measures to be put in place ahead of legislative changes to establish an independent casino regulator.

The Bergin Inquiry Report on the regulation of casinos in the state and the suitability of Crown Resorts to hold a gaming license made 19 recommendations, including the establishment of an independent casino regulator.

In August 2021, the government agreed to support all 19 recommendations, and a statement from the ILGA said that the establishment of an independent regulator is “well on its way to becoming a reality, with temporary arrangements put in place to support the new structure.”

At present, work is taking place to redesign the regulatory structure of NSW casinos, and it is expected that legislative changes will be put before parliament later this year.

Philip Crawford, the ILGA Chairperson, said that until the legislative changes take place, there is a need for improved capacity, and that is what the interim arrangements will provide. He explained, “ILGA will use the new arrangements to further enhance its ability to identify and address organized crime in casinos and to expand its cooperation with the ACIC, AUSTRAC, and the NSW Police Force.”

The interim arrangements include the appointment of a new ILGA board member with expertise in anti-money laundering as well as changing Crawford’s role from part-time to full-time in order to “enable a stronger leadership focus and commitment to casino regulation.”

There will also be a functional separation of casino regulation from liquor and gaming regulation within the current regulator. Some ILGA members will be moved to focus purely on casino matters, and teams within the Department of Customer Service will be given additional resources to help them support the ILGA.

Furthermore, there will be a new Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Customer Service and AUSTRAC designed to improve collaboration and information sharing.

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