Last year, the Star Entertainment Group faced punitive actions by the Queensland Government following substantial failings at its casinos. The government deferred the suspension of the Group’s licences for a year, closely observing operations in the state. Notably, this was not a one off event. The Star had also been declared unsuitable to hold a licence in New South Wales.
Key Provisions of the New Bill: Increased Oversight
One of the paramount goals of the new legislation is to ensure the ongoing integrity and probity of the state’s casinos. To achieve this, organisations affiliated with Queensland casinos will be subjected to inquiries every five years. Yvette D’Ath, the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, emphasised that the bill would implement all 12 recommendations from the ‘Review of the Queensland Operations of The Star Entertainment Group’.
Safer Gambling Measures
The bill places significant emphasis on promoting safer gambling practices:
- Carded Play: Casinos will require players to pre-load funds onto a card for gambling, allowing player activity to be monitored more closely.
- Pre-commitment System: Players will have to agree to certain rules before they can gamble. These rules include mandatory breaks and loss limits, ensuring players have measures in place to prevent irresponsible gambling leading to gambling addiction.
- Police Exclusion Notices: The police will have the authority to instruct casinos to exclude specific individuals. Following such a notice, the casino operator must promptly issue an exclusion notice to the person in question.
The Queensland Government is making decisive moves to ensure financial accountability and transparency. The ‘Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023’ not only addresses operational and ethical concerns but also burrows deep into the financial aspects of casino operations. With a clear aim to safeguard both the industry and its patrons, the bill delineates pivotal monetary implications listed below.
Supervision Levy: Casino licensees will be subject to a supervision levy, ensuring that taxpayers don’t bear the burden of regulating casinos. The exact amount will be determined annually by the minister.
Higher Penalties: Casinos will now face stiffer penalties for certain breaches. Moreover, casino executives will have specific duties concerning the operation of a casino, with severe personal penalties for non-compliance.
The Path Ahead
The Queensland Government’s decision comes after the Star Entertainment Group was found to be “unsuitable” to hold a license in the state, resulting in a hefty $100M fine and license suspension. This move was precipitated by the Gotterson Review, which investigated anti-money laundering practices and player safety concerns, especially focusing on China UnionPay payments.
The bill aims to modernise Queensland’s gambling and casino laws, making them more effective both at present and in the future. As D’Ath rightly stated, these reforms will ensure that the laws remain relevant and effective in the changing landscape of the gambling industry.
The legislation serves as a testament to the Queensland Government’s commitment to safeguarding its citizens from the potential of gambling harm and addiction while ensuring that the casino industry operates with the utmost integrity.