NSW Addresses Gambling Harm And New Casino Regulator

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority of New South Wales made some announcements in January. The most significant pertained to creating the framework for a new casino regulator, which was a response to the Bergin Inquiry. The second was an announcement of a new service provider for the Office of Responsible Gambling to address multicultural needs.

NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority ILGA

New Casino Regulator

In mid-January 2022, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) announced that it had been working on one of the key points from the Bergin Inquiry. This involved creating a new casino regulator, one that focuses solely on casinos. The ILGA could not dedicate enough time and resources to monitoring the casino industry. The Crown Resorts scandal showed how important and specific those resources must be.

The January announcement indicated that the ILGA not only produced a framework for the new regulatory body but also put temporary arrangements in place. The interim changes are just that – temporary. The New South Wales legislature must pass a new law to authorize the regulator and delegate responsibilities to it.

The ILGA’s framework will give lawmakers guidance to write that legislation. They expect to introduce it in the middle of 2022. This means that the interim arrangements will stay in place and work alongside the ILGA’s old structure for the better part of 2022.

ILGA Chairperson Philip Crawford said, “We need improved capacity now and that’s what these interim arrangements will provide for.”

Response to Bergin Inquiry

The impetus for creating the new regulatory body emerged from the Bergin Inquiry. That was the extensive commission headed up by the Honourable Patricia Bergin. It thoroughly and painstakingly examined allegations against and reports of wrongdoings by Crown Resorts. The end result was a detailed report that included 19 recommendations for improvements on the regulatory side of the issues at hand.

As the ILGA prepares to set up the new framework for interim use in the coming weeks, the current regulatory body revealed some of basic tenets of it. This is not a definitive list:

  • The new regulator will separate the functions of casino regulation from liquor and other gaming regulations. ILGA will continue in its role for the latter matters, but casino regulation will separate.
  • Some ILGA members will become responsible for the casino-focused framework.
  • ILGA Chairperson Philip Crawford became a full-time employee. The goal is to provide stronger leadership, as well as more focus and commitment to casino regulatory matters.
  • The ILGA will welcome a new board member with expertise in the anti-money laundering field.
  • The ILGA’s Department of Customer Service will receive additional resources to dedicate teams of people to better support the regulator’s legislative functions and powers.
  • That Department of Customer Service will work closely with AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, a governmental body). Specifically, they will develop a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to better facilitate collaboration and information sharing between the two agencies.

One of the primary goals for the new framework is to reinforce ILGA’s commitment to protect the casino industry in NSW. Not only did the Bergin Inquiry show that a regulator needed to monitor for criminal influences, it should prevent them in the first place. The ILGA will also more closely address potential gambling harm associated with casino activities.

Per Crawford, “ILGA will use the new arrangements to further enhance its ability to identify and address organized crime in casinos and to expand its cooperation with the ACIC (Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission), AUSTRAC and the NSW Police Force.”

Multicultural Services

Speaking of gambling harm, the ILGA released a statement from the Office of Responsible Gambling (OLG) in late January. It revealed that the OLG appointed a new service provider to support multicultural services via the GambleAware program.

That provider is the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD). It brings more than 20 years of experience to the table, which includes multicultural services in the form of the Transcultural Mental Health Centre and the former Multicultural Problem Gambling Service.

The primary objective of this partnership is to ensure that all GambleAware providers become better equipped to support multicultural communities. This will help deliver services to communities often overlooked in gambling harm prevention programs. OLG research has determined that culturally and linguistically diverse parts of NSW tend to be more vulnerable to gambling harm. They are also more distanced from available assistance.

According to WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy, “Our goal is to ensure that anyone who needs help can speak to someone in the language they are most comfortable with, and who understands both their culture and community.”

Parts of 2022 Strategic Plan

The new regulatory body and the Office of Responsible Gambling partnership are both key parts of the NSW ILGA Strategic Plan 2022. This was technically released earlier in 2021 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Even so, the aforementioned actions are in line with the priorities in that plan.

The priorities for the ILGA include:

  • Strengthen casino regulation through a modern, evidence-based approach. The specific focus should be on preventing money laundering and to ensure effective governance.
  • Protect communities from gaming-related harm, focusing on late-night gambling. Conduct necessary research and implement effective harm minimization measures to achieve this goal.
  • Engage with regional communities through the Regional Engagement Strategy and other groups. They must understand and address potential alcohol and gambling harm in diverse regions of NSW.
  • Better understand and address alcohol-related harms increased by delivery-only liquor and same-day liquor deliveries.
  • Improve engagement with industry and government agencies, local councils, and community representatives.
  • Develop a deeper understanding between the ILGA and liquor outlet density and potential harm.

 

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Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.