NSW minister calls for gambling changes 

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Former Crown Casino retail store manager stole and resold luxury goods

A New South Wales minister is calling for change on the way that gambling is carried out in the state.

Sky News reports that NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the recommendations of a Special Commission of Inquiry into Crown Casino recommended big changes to the way gambling is regulated in the state.

“The community expects the government to keep them safe,” Mr Dominello said.

“We want our governments to keep us safe. In this case, it’s safe from organised crime.

“We can only look not too far around the world to see what happens when organised crime influences politics.

“It’s a really toxic mix.

“We need to keep organised crime at bay and when there’s cash, there’s organised crime and gambling obviously has a close association.”

The recent Bergin report into NSW’s newest potential casino at Barangaroo has found that Mr Dominello’s recommendation of a gambling card in the state should be implemented.

The idea was that gamblers would pre-load their card with the amount of money they were prepared to lose.

Because the card would be linked to an individual’s ID, the minister argued, it would not just minimise harm to problem gamblers but reduce money laundering as well.

In her report, Commissioner Bergin made it clear she thought Mr Dominello’s proposal would help address one of the key issues she wanted dealt with – money laundering by organised criminals.

“The proposal has been the subject of some public debate and is not free from controversy,” she wrote.

“However, it appears that the very significant utility of the card to assist the problem gambler could not be in issue.

“It is also obvious that it would be a powerful mechanism to assist in combating money laundering.”

Since the publication of the report, Philip Crawford, the chair of the NSW regulator, has urged the government to back the gambling card.

“It’s a terrific way to shore up the issue of money laundering by organised crime,” he said.

Mr Crawford is concerned that if the focus is just on casinos laundering money, the practice will continue to flourish elsewhere.

“We don’t want it washing into the suburban pubs and clubs because it’s a big industry.

“You’ve seen the numbers and it’s massive, so it’s something we want to attack as a regulator.”

“We think it’s legitimate and we’ve got a minister who is committed to it. The stars are aligning. Let’s use the opportunity and the momentum for some really good change.”

Cashless gaming card gets support in unlikely places

An unlikely partnership has been forged in New South Wales to support a gambling card for poker machines.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in September that One Nation and the NSW Greens support the proposal by the government, as it braces for a stoush with clubs and pubs over the plan.

The government is seeking to move to cashless poker machines and require players to register for a government-issued gambling card in the most sweeping gaming reforms in the state’s history.

One Nation leader Mark Latham, who has previously revealed his father Don’s gambling problem, has backed the proposal, warning problem gambling was a serious health issue crippling families.

Mr Latham said he had been pushing for 20 years for cashless smart card technology to overcome “this dreadful, destructive problem in our society.”

But he said the reforms should not be rushed and urged the government to delay implementation until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted for clubs and pubs.

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