The Premier of New South Wales (NSW), Chris Minns, has noted reports that the state gambling regulatory body has often warned local clubs and pubs ahead of random compliance checks are extremely concerning.
According to some documents presented to the Parliament, the industry’s trade body – ClubsNSW – sent emails to local club owners in February 2022 to warn them that the state’s gambling regulator was set to start gambling harm-minimisation compliance checks in Sydney to make sure that the gaming machines and signage in clubs and pubs were properly positioned.
In a written statement, the Liquor and Gaming NSW, which is currently responsible for the regulation and monitoring of the state’s gambling industry, acknowledged that it normally issues industry-wide communications aimed at informing trade bodies or individual venues of upcoming random compliance inspections.
After the revelations emerged, the NSW Premier announced that the state Government would take an in-depth look into the issue. According to him, such practices were extremely concerning and had to be thoroughly investigated. Mr Minns further noted that regulators are supposed to provide communities with confidence that everyone, should they be individuals or businesses, comply with the laws that are in place.
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Reportedly, the internal Liquor and Gaming documents, which were tabled to the Parliament following Independent Member of Parliament Alex Greenwich’s inquiries, further uncovered an email that was exchanged between two public servants back in February 2022.
In that email, one of the public servants raised a concern regarding the association and collaboration with a popular “money-laundering club”. The email regarded the business in question as the largest money laundering club in New South Wales and whether collaborating with it in an anti-gambling initiative was okay.
According to Alex Greenwich MP, the documents put the organisation’s credibility under question. He further noted that his confidence in the credibility of the liquor and gaming regulatory body had been seriously reduced after the documents were revealed.
As reported by the ABC News, a spokesperson for the gambling regulatory body of New South Wales, commented on the email, saying that it was written by a former employee of the watchdog and the opinion expressed in it was not in line with the actual opinion of Liquor and Gaming NSW. The spokesperson further explained that the premises mentioned in the email had not been the subject of any adverse findings linked to money laundering.
The Government of Premier Minns faced a wave of criticism during the election campaign for its refusal to commit to the Coalition’s promise to implement a cashless gaming card as part of the efforts to help offset gambling-related harm and track gamblers in the state. Instead of doing so, Mr Minns decided to unveil a trial of the proposed cashless gambling card scheme and present a range of other measures aimed at tackling money laundering and gambling-related harm in clubs and pubs across New South Wales. He explained that the newly-unveiled documents proved how important the special investigation of the NSW Crime Commission into local clubs and pubs that took place in 2022 was.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.