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Government tightens controls on casinos and gaming industry

Casino operators will be subject to tougher and tighter compliance requirements under proposed changes to Queensland gambling laws.

The changes will increase penalties on the gaming industry and aim to minimise the detrimental impacts on vulnerable gamblers.

Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said today the proposed reforms in the Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 would help prevent criminal influence and exploitation in casinos and were a proactive response to recent inquiries into casinos by other Australian states.

“This Bill will ensure Queenslanders can have confidence in the integrity of our casino laws,” Ms Fentiman said. “These reforms seek to address concerns which have emerged from the public inquiries into casinos operated by Crown Resorts in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, as well as investigations under way into the Star Entertainment Group.

“As a result of the changes, there will be significant pecuniary penalties as a disciplinary action of up to $50 million.

“These reforms are considered to be examples of best practice casino regulation and will be in place before the opening of the new casino at Queen’s Wharf to be operated by The Star.”

More changes to the legislation may be considered at the conclusion of current investigations into The Star Entertainment Group.

Queensland currently has four operational casinos – The Treasury Casino (Brisbane), The Star Gold Coast (formerly known as Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino), The Reef Hotel Casino (Cairns) and The Ville Resort Casino (Townsville). Brisbane’s Treasury Casino is scheduled to relocate to the Queen’s Wharf precinct on completion of the Star Brisbane and Grand Hotel in George Street.

Ms Fentiman said the Bill would include changes to deliver the Government’s commitment to transition to safe cashless gaming.

“(The Government has) made a commitment to transition to safe cashless gaming and during the pandemic we saw the use of cash decline as industries moved to non-cash options,” she said.

“Moving towards more traceable electronic transactions was also a recommendation of the Finkelstein Inquiry into the Crown Casino to prevent money laundering.

“This Bill will modernise Queensland’s gambling legislation to allow new payment methods and systems to be considered for use, provided they are safe and reliable.

“We will also ensure that we can maintain our strong gambling harm minimisation measures.

“These amendments will not only provide the government with the flexibility to consider new and innovative approaches to gaming, but will ensure that emergent technology can be subjected to appropriate controls in order to address potential risks.”

The Bill also introduces changes for charities and not-for-profits by introducing a mutual recognition scheme for fundraising approvals in Queensland.

Charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and which notify the Office of Fair Trading can be deemed a registered charity in Queensland and can fundraise in Queensland.

Charities which are not registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission may still seek registration directly from the Office of Fair Trading, and will no longer have to await the conclusion of a 28-day objections period before their applications are finalised.

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