Senior Government Minister Questions Future of Casinos in NSW

Cities and Infrastructure minister of New South Wales Rob Stokes has questioned the future of the casino industry in Sydney and Australia following the damaging revelations of criminal practices, including money laundering, and collaborating with Asian junket operators despite advice not to, by investigators into Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group.

Casino Shortcomings Bring into Question Their Very Existence

Stokes asked members of the parliament to rethink the future of casinos in the state given the findings of investigations into Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment. He commented that the public inquiries into both companies would have a serious impact on the regulatory conditions for the casino operators and a number of consequences that could question the need for a casino industry in NSW.

His concerns came after Slater and Gordon, an Australian law firm, filed a shareholder class-action lawsuit before the Supreme Court of Victoria, accusing Star of misleading its investors and making deceptive representations about its compliance with regulatory obligations.

“Cesspits of Dishonesty, Tax Evasion and Money Laundering”

Stokes stated that the benefits of casinos were “illusory and ephemeral” and called them “veritable cesspits of dishonesty, tax evasion, junkets, money laundering”. He added that given the tax evasion findings, casino operators are not justified because of “the revenue they provide to support social and community benefits”. He admitted that everything the government had been warned about was true.

In addition, more than 200 people reported suspicious gambling transactions at pubs and clubs in the NSW state within the last six months. As a result, the government was pressured to introduce reforms in the gambling sector. Kevin Anderson, a minister for hospitality and racing reported that the NSW government planned to establish an independent casino regulator by the middle of this year with new legislation.

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MP Justin Field has also raised the investigation into clubs as an issue

While the inquiry into The Star is being conducted through public hearings, a separate probe by the NSW Crime Commission into money laundering at pubs and clubs is being held behind closed doors.

Upper house independent MP Justin Field said conducting a “largely secret” inquiry concealed from the public the extent to which criminal behaviour was going unhindered.

“The community deserves to be informed by a public inquiry, as we have seen with Crown and The Star,” he said.

“How many times do we need to be shown that casinos are where organised crime, big money and big politics come together at the expense of the public?” he said.

Chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform Tim Costello said it was “the height of secrecy and lack of transparency that we can know about Star but not the inquiry into pokies, pubs and clubs.”


Source: www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/cesspit-of-dishonesty-senior-nsw-minister-questions-future-of-casinos-20220329-p5a90z.html