Queensland Passes Tough, Far-Reaching Casino Control Amendments

March 22, 2024
Back
Australia's Queensland state legislature has passed a comprehensive upgrade to casino control legislation, introducing strict impositions in response to an external review into Star Entertainment Group’s compliance failures.
Body

Australia's Queensland state legislature has passed a comprehensive upgrade to casino control legislation, introducing strict impositions in response to an external review into Star Entertainment Group’s compliance failures.

The Labor government’s second and larger tranche of changes to Queensland's parent gambling law in the Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 sailed through parliament on Wednesday (March 20) without meaningful opposition.

The 85-page document, introduced to parliament in October last year, serves to complete legislative reforms matching recommendations by the Gotterson Review into Star Entertainment.

Focusing on gambling harm reduction and anti-money laundering (AML) protections, the amendments follow reforms in certain other Australian states by imposing mandatory cashless gambling for transactions greater than A$1,000 ($650) for most games, mandatory pre-commitment, time-limited gambling and player breaks.

They also require players to carry gambling cards that distribute data to the casino operator and the regulator under certain circumstances.

Casino licensees must also be proactive in preventing players banned in other states’ casinos from gambling on their properties, a response to Star Entertainment’s practice of moving players banned at its Sydney property to its Queensland casinos.

Star and other licensees will now be subject to an “enforceable code of conduct”, pay a levy to support government regulation and responsible gambling initiatives, and undergo a review of operations at least every five years.

“The new laws will help ensure Queensland casinos operate with integrity and that they have measures in place to prevent gambling harm and combat money laundering,” Attorney General Yvette D’Ath said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Importantly, these reforms pave the way to implementing the remaining recommendations of the Gotterson Review, with the government now focused on developing the regulations required to enforce these reforms.”

Among a raft of smaller changes to the Casino Control Act 1982, the amendments empower inspectors to intervene more aggressively on the casino floor, particularly if excluded gamblers or minors are involved.

In the final day of debate on the legislation, D’Ath told parliament that the government had strengthened the Gotterson Review recommendation on a supervision levy for casinos.

She said the levy will be “used to fund not only the regulation and oversight of casinos, but also programs aimed at minimising the harm from gambling in Queensland".

“This use of the supervision levy goes beyond Mr Gotterson’s recommendation. It will ensure casinos, as the primary beneficiaries of virtually all forms of legalising gambling in Queensland, contribute to harm minimisation across the board.”

The passage of the bill marks another milestone in the reining in of gambling operators in Australia after years of operator misconduct and regulatory impotence.

It also places extra pressure on Star Entertainment to develop a viable business model for its upcoming Queen’s Wharf integrated resort in the wake of bans on junkets and the loss of much of Australia's China-sourced VIP market.

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

To find out more about Vixio, contact us today
No items found.