Home Gambling Industry NSW minister questions need for casinos in Australia

NSW minister questions need for casinos in Australia

31 Mar 2022
3 min. read


Australia’s commercial casinos have long been seen as bulwarks against which organized crime would break. In fact, many of the country’s objections against regulating an iGaming industry has mostly stemmed from fears that AML and KYC standards would be completely dismantled by ill-meaning parties.

Now, the disappointment stems from the country’s two casino giants to name Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group, both of which found themselves the focus of lengthy investigations that probed their suitability to hold a license. The evidence against those properties has been so damning that Star Entertainment CEO Matt Bekier even chose to step down following revelations about severe AML shortcomings and illicit connections with Asian junket operators.

The evidence has prompted NSW minister of transport Rob Stokes to even ask if there is a point in allowing casinos to operate in the country. The changes that need to be introduced to bring willful operators back into the fold, Stokes argued, would be so vast that they would trigger a series of regulatory changes that could pose an existential threat to the future of these properties.

The minister was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald which reported on his statement. He has a point. Crown Resorts has already been found unsuitable to hold a license and it has started a two-year journey that should in theory enable it to return to control.

Crown Sydney, though, may gain its license sooner rather than later with regulators citing the significant remedial action that the property took in order to ensure regulators and investigators that it’s able to bear responsibility for its actions and still meet industry standards.

Stokes, though, was disappointed with how years of warnings by independent bodies had turned out to be true in the end. He cited tax evasion as one of the big issues that he couldn’t square with casinos, as those properties’ taxes towards the government were their biggest societal benefit.

The NSW is not planning to scrap any casinos just yet. If anything, the state has confirmed that it would be installing a new industry regulator to ensure that such oversights no longer happen. The new watchdog should be arriving by the middle of the year. Casinos in Australia will indeed have to go through much more extensive checks moving forward. They have no room to err anymore.

Image credit: Unsplash.com

31 Mar 2022
3 min. read