21 March 2024

Queensland brings in another suite of reforms to casino regulation following Gotterson Inquiry

| James Day
Start the conversation
The Star Casino, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and Broadbeach skyline at sunset from an aerial view on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia

Shareholders of Star Entertainment launched a class action against the company as a result of it failing to inform them of its links between organised crime and money laundering. Photo: Darren Tierney.

This week the sunshine state passed laws that will increase regulatory scrutiny on casinos, enabling the government to install the last recommendations of The Star Entertainment Group review.

In October the former Palaszczuk government laid down the first set of substantial changes to the Casino Control Act 1982, which came out of the 2022 inquiry by the Honourable Robert Gotterson AO KC.

His investigation into Star Casino’s Queensland operations revealed two casinos in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast had neglected their duties under the licences granted to them by the state. As a result of the findings, legislative changes allowed the government to fine Star $100 million in December 2022 and appoint a special manager to oversee their operations.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the reforms were instrumental to the disciplinary action taken and inspired this new suite of legislation.

“The new laws will help ensure Queensland casinos operate with integrity and that they have measures in place to prevent gambling harm and combat money laundering,” said Ms D’Ath.

“Importantly, these reforms pave the way to implementing the remaining recommendations of the Gotterson Review, with the government now focused on developing the regulations required to enforce these reforms.”

READ ALSO Gambling reform group calls government’s lobbyist controls ‘toothless’ and ‘opaque’

Along with the removal of certain outdated and potentially stigmatising language from the act, casinos will now be required to:

  • Implement mandatory carded play for certain games and activities, with restrictions on the use of cash, as well as mandatory pre-commitment, with time limits and enforced player breaks
  • Issue player cards and collect information relating to play and provide certain de-identified data to the regulator
  • Comply with an enforceable code of conduct to be defined in a regulation
  • Pay a supervision levy to the government to cover the costs of casino regulation and to fund harm minimisation programs
  • And take steps to exclude people who are banned from interstate casinos by an interstate police commissioner.

Queensland casinos will also be required to undergo a periodic review of their operations and sustainability at least every five years.

To complement this, inspectors have been given improved powers in an update to their information request process. And a new clause will allow them to interview minors and excluded persons on casino premises (if the minor or excluded person is found on the premises).

READ ALSO New laws aim to get Queenslanders into affordable homes

In August, Star Entertainment was fined another $140,000 for helping gamblers banned from its casino in Sydney use their credit cards at its facilities in Queensland. CEO Robbie Cooke said the company suffered a loss of $2.44 billion largely due to the loss in value of its Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos.

As part of ongoing structural changes to its management and board, the company recently promoted Jessica Mellor from chief operating officer to chief executive of its Gold Coast casino. However, the company has yet to appoint anyone for the same position at its operations in Brisbane and Sydney.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.