Amendments to existing land-based casino gaming laws in Queensland aim to make gambling safer for residents. The Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill of 2022 proposes several reforms, including raising the maximum penalty for Queensland land-based casinos to A$50 million.

Shannon Fentiman, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, says that the new laws will curb criminal influences and the exploitation of vulnerable player groups in land-based casinos across the state.

It stands to reason that the Queensland government is enforcing harsher penalties to land-based casinos, and rightly so. A study completed by No Deposit World, found that taking action against operators seldom makes any difference to the prevalence of problem gambling. So these measures are being questioned.

Star Accused of Violating Anti-Money Laundering Laws

The Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill of 2022 is a response to recent investigations of casino activities in other Australian states. Star Entertainment Group and Crown Resorts have undergone state investigation into alleged violation of anti-money laundering and gambling laws in their properties.

The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority is investigating Star Entertainment Group at present. The state launched its investigation of Star in June 2021, following accusations that the Star collaborates with junkets having ties to criminal establishments and that it implemented inadequate anti-money laundering measures.

The senior managers of Star Sydney Casino stand accused of deceiving regulators and processing illegal cash transactions in junket rooms despite being fully aware that such activities violated the state’s anti-money laundering laws. Initially, the Star responded to these allegations by referring to them as “misleading.”

In February 2021, the state declared that the Crown was unsuitable to operate a land-based casino in Sydney’s Barangaroo. This declaration followed an investigation revealing evidence of money laundering in its properties.

Later in 2022, the state declared the Crown unsuitable to operate a land-based casino in Victoria after an investigation that found the Crown guilty of dishonest, illegal, exploitative, and unethical behavior.

In February 2022, the state again declared the Crown unsuitable to operate its Perth casino.

Bill to Make Queensland Casinos Safer for Players

Fentiman says that the bill will give residents more confidence in the integrity of the state’s land-based casino gaming laws.

The reforms address concerns emerging from state investigations of the activities of land-based casinos belonging to Crown Resorts in Victoria, Western Australia, and New South Wales and the present state investigation of properties belonging to Star Entertainment Group.

Queensland wants the reforms to be an example of the best practices in casino regulation. The state aims to enforce these laws before launching Star’s Queen’s Wharf Casino.

The bill also proposes changes to help casinos deliver a safe and secure cashless gaming experience. The state has updated laws to enable casinos to introduce the latest payment systems and methods for the benefit of their players.

The bill also proposes several measures to minimize gambling harm in the state, permitting the government to launch modern and innovative approaches to protect residents from gambling-related harm.

Bill to Remove Regulatory Burden on Charities

The bill also addresses non-profit and charitable gambling by introducing a mutual recognition scheme to approve fundraising events and activities in the state. Registered charities in Queensland are the charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and have the license to raise funds in Queensland.

A charity not registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission can register directly at the Office of Fair Trading. However, the charity will not have to wait for the end of an objection period of 28 days to finalize their applications.

Fentiman says that these changes form a part of the state’s ongoing work to eliminate regulatory burdens on charitable organizations. Also, Queensland will continue collaborating with other Australian states and territories toward harmonizing fundraising laws throughout the country.

The state may further amend its laws on the conclusion of investigations on Star Entertainment Group.

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