Full-time chair for reformed NSW casino regulator

By Melissa Coade

Friday January 14, 2022

Commissioner Patricia Bergin SC speaking during the Inquiry into Crown Casino, September 28, 2020. (AAP/ Supplied by the Inquiry).

Temporary arrangements have been put in place by the state government to support the establishment of a standalone casino regulator in NSW.

This will include amending the appointment of the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) chairperson from part-time to full-time, and designating certain staff to focus exclusively on casino regulation. 

In August the NSW government announced that it would support the 19 recommendations from the Bergin Inquiry Report on the regulation of casinos in NSW and the suitability of Crown Resorts to hold a restricted gaming facility license.

At the time, minister for digital and customer service Victor Dominello said redesigning the regulatory structure for casinos would target money laundering risks. He added that the new body would be funded via the casino supervisory levy.

“It is critical that the management and operation of casinos in NSW are free from criminal influence and exploitation,” Dominello said.

Committing to implement the 19 recommendations from Justice Patricia Bergin’s report is an important first step in the process of reforming the casino sector.”

With legislative changes to establish the independent casino regulator now planned for mid-2022, the government has implemented practical interim arrangements for the ILGA.

The ILGA interim arrangements will commence from February, when liquor and gaming regulation will be functionally separated from casino regulation. 

A new IGLA board member with anti-money laundering expertise will also be appointed, and extra resources will be allocated to teams within the NSW department of customer service to support the authority exercise of its legislative functions and powers.

A new Memorandum of Understanding is also planned between the department and AUSTRAC to strengthen collaboration and information sharing between the agencies. 

On Friday ILGA chairperson Phillip Crawford issued a statement that said the new arrangements will enhance the management of ‘existing and emerging risks’ in the current casino regulatory environment.

“ILGA will use the new arrangements to further enhance its ability to identify and address organised crime in casinos and to expand its cooperation with the ACIC, AUSTRAC and the NSW Police Force,” Crawford said. 

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