Queensland Introduces Tough Casino Control Reform Bill

October 26, 2023
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The Queensland state government has introduced a bill to implement the full slate of casino control reforms recommended by an external review into Star Entertainment Group’s compliance failures.
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The Queensland state government has introduced a bill to implement the full slate of casino control reforms recommended by an external review into Star Entertainment Group’s compliance failures.

The 85-page Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, introduced by attorney-general and justice minister Yvette D’Ath on Wednesday (October 25), would bring Queensland into line with tough changes in neighbouring New South Wales and Victoria states.

The bill would institute the remaining 11 of the Gotterson review’s 12 recommendations into Star Entertainment’s casino operations in the state.

The review report was released last October, and its 12th recommendation — appointing a special manager to a casino as a disciplinary measure — was legislated and implemented in December.

If the bill passes, casinos in Queensland will be “subject to inquiries every five years” to ensure ongoing suitability, D’Ath said in a statement later on Wednesday.

Similar to state reforms elsewhere in Australia, casinos would introduce mandatory, personalised carded play and other cash restrictions (except for Keno and sports betting), enforced breaks for gamblers, mandatory pre-commitment metrics, player data retention, and other measures combating gambling harm and money laundering risk.

Cash transaction limits within 24 hours would apply, although a regulation would specify the maximum figure, as with play limits. A compulsory code of conduct for operators would also be imposed via regulations.

The bill also empowers police commissioners in other states and territories of Australia to exclude gamblers from Queensland casinos and requires local casino operators to exclude individuals if the operator is “aware” of such an interstate exclusion and to inform the authorities of that exclusion.

This change is a response to Star Entertainment’s practice of soliciting and admitting excluded gamblers from other states, a business strategy that came under heavy fire during the Gotterson review.

Various new requirements will require new technologies, the statement said, with specific violations to meet tougher fines overall.

In addition, “casino executives will be required to undertake particular duties in relation to the operation of a casino, and there will be significant personal penalties for non-compliance”, D’Ath said.

“There will also be a supervision levy imposed on casino licensees”, calculated annually, “so that the costs of regulating casinos will not be passed onto taxpayers”, she said.

The bill’s wide-ranging changes and additions require amendment of five laws or regulations, including the Casino Control Regulation 1999 and the Gaming Machine Act 1991.

Star Entertainment’s Queensland casino licences at The Treasury Brisbane and The Star Gold Coast will be suspended for 90 days from December 1 this year after a deferral as part of a suite of disciplinary action that included a A$100m ($63m) fine and the appointment of Nicholas Weeks as special manager until further notice.

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