Government of Western Australia Introduces a Bill Seeking to Impose Bigger Monetary Fines and Establish New Gambling Watchdog

Earlier this week, the Government of Western Australia introduced a new piece of legislation to Parliament. Under the proposed bill, casino operators in the state will face penalties of up to AU$100 million for potential failures to comply with the regulation. Apart from adopting higher monetary penalties for gambling companies, the new legislation tabled by the Western Australian Government seeks to create a new gambling regulator.

The move came at the same time when Kevin Anderson, the Hospitality and Racing Minister of New South Wales (NSW), announced a suite of measures aimed at bringing reforms to the state’s gambling industry. These measures are expected to be officially introduced by August 2022.

The reform push unveiled by both Australian jurisdictions originates from the inquiries faced by Crown Resorts into its suitability to run its Barangaroo casino in Sydney.

As Casino Guardian reported, on June 22nd, the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) provided the Australian gambling giant with conditional permission to open its flagship casino in Sydney, only a few days before the Blackstone’s takeover of the company is finalised. The gambling operator’s licence is expected to be reviewed at the end of 2023.

An investigation of a special Royal Commission found that Crown Resorts and its subsidiaries turned a blind eye to money laundering at the casino, allowing junket operators with links to criminal organisations to offer their services to customers of the Burswood complex. The Australian casino giant also failed to implement systems to detect suspicious money transactions.

The Maximum Fine for Casino Companies to Be Raised to AU$100 Million

The new piece of legislation introduced by the Government of Western Australia addresses the aforementioned findings of the Royal Commission, as well as the body’s recommendations. The bill seeks to enable an independent chair to be appointed to the gambling regulator of the state in order to oversee the remediation process of the casino company. A significant increase is set to be brought to the maximum fine for non-compliance with the gambling regulations of Western Australia, from AU$100,000 to AU$100 million.

Hon Dr Tony Buti, the Racing and Gaming Minister of Western Australia, noted that, if passed, the new piece of legislation would allow the Government to hold casino operators accountable in case they do not comply with the rules. He further noted that the authorities would be able to recoup the cost of the independent monitor from Crown Resorts under the provisions of the new bill. The state’s Racing and Gaming Minister explained that once the piece of legislation is passed, the Legislature would take a step toward the implementation of more reforms to make the rest of Western Australia’s casino laws into the 21st century.

The Casino Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 is considered the first legislative step to address the issues raised in the Perth Casino Royal Commission. After it is passed, the law is set to provide the Racing and Gaming Minister and the state’s Gaming and Wagering Commission with the power to enact the much-needed remediation processes within the casino.

Previously, a WA Royal Commission found that Crown Resorts had failed to tackle gambling-related harm and was not open in its communications with the state’s regulatory body. A total of 59 recommendations have been included in the report, with a large number of deficiencies found as a result of the investigation.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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