Liquor and Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) has unveiled its regulatory priorities for the second half of the year, with a focus on staffing, money laundering and advancing gaming technology.

The regulators explained that the priorities were in place to ‘help support the industry recover from the COVID pandemic and ensure a vibrant, safe and responsible sector.’ The report also highlights the key periods of activity for the regulators over the rest of 2022.

Staffing support offered

Staffing is a paramount issue, both for operators and regulators, as the Liquor and Gaming NSW document illustrates. The organisation recognised that ‘security and hospitality staff have not return to the industry in full capacity’.

In response to this issue, L&GNSW hosted an industry roundtable at the end of June, and has stated it will ‘continue to work with industry and government agencies in an attempt to attract and retain more staff to the hospitality sector.’ These efforts have included the extension of free RSA and RCG refresher courses.

Collaborative response to money laundering concerns

Another priority concern was ‘the nature and extent of money laundering that may be occurring in licensed premises.’

While L&GNSW is not involved in direct regulation of any money laundering, it does support authorities in the collection of data and intelligence. The NSW Crime Commission and the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority have established a joint inquiry into potential money laundering, with a report expected by the end of August.

Assisting safer gaming tech advances

Similarly, L&GNSW stated that the organisation is looking to support advances in technology that will potentially assist in safer gaming.

‘Examples include the trialling of cashless gaming solutions and digital wallets for gaming machines, the use of facial recognition to support gambling self-exclusion and the use of identification verification systems,’ L&GNSW’s statement read.

In order to foster innovation in this area, L&GNSW said it was willing to consider ‘regulatory sandboxes and more formalised pre-advisory services’, with the ambition of seeing how technology can further harm-minimisation tactics.

New regulations for casinos

Finally, L&GNSW acknowledged that the recent inquiries and reviews have brought casino regulation into the public and regulatory eyeline.

‘The Bergin Inquiry made 19 recommendations about casino regulation, and the NSW government has agreed to support all recommendations,’ L&GNSW’s statement read.

‘We are planning the establishment of a new NSW Independent Casino Commission that will be supported by staffing across Hospitality and Racing.’

L&GNSW also said that it was awaiting the outcome of Adam Bell SC’s independent review into the Star, but will be addressing risks identified in the course of this process in the meantime.

The unveiling of this priority came as NSW Minister for Hospitality and Racing, Kevin Anderson, released a statement announcing ‘tough new laws’ on Casino regulation on 11 August.

The Casino Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 is designed to ensure that NSW’s two major casinos comply with controls, under the watchful eye of an independent regulator – the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC)

“This marks a new era in the way casinos in NSW are allowed to operate, with new comprehensive measures targeting key issues such as money laundering and other criminal activity,” Anderson said.

“This essential reset will give the people of NSW confidence that the State’s casino operators will be held to the highest possible standards.”

“The NICC will formally commence operations on 5 September and its first major task will be to consider the findings of the review into The Star casino, with Adam Bell SC due to hand down his report by the end of the month,” Anderson added.

The full report, including L&GNSW’s scheduled actions, regulatory reforms and compliance focuses is available here.

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