Casino Regulators Lack Industry Experience

‘Australian gambling regulators exposed for allegedly lacking sufficient industry experience! Is this the same in the online casino scene!’ (Image by Daniel Bone from Pixabay)

Australian casino regulators exposed after the newly-appointed Royal Commission of Western Australia, which was created to look into the activities of the Crown Resorts’ Perth casino, has been informed that apparently the gambling regulator was staffed by members who lacked sufficient experience in the industry of casino regulation!

The objective of the Crown Perth probe, which is already underway, is to see whether the gambling regulation framework in Western Australia can function as required. They are also having a look into whether gambling giant Crown Resorts is suited to maintain its license for their casino in Perth. This comes after a separate probe into their sister casino in Sydney (Barangaroo) showed some links to criminal activity via unlicensed junket tour operators and money laundering. This resulted in them being found unfit to operate and hold their current license.

Now does this same lack of knowledge spill over into the online casino arena to where the country has huge issues with its citizens gambling online at overseas casinos with very little protection. We mentioned in a few Aussie related news reports that in the past at least Aussie players had protection under EU consumer right laws using casino under the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

However, the Australian government requested that the licensing authority writes in a rule in its framework forbidding MGA online casinos to accept players from Australia. This move forced Aussi casino players deeper into a black market of online gambling whereby unlicensed casinos accepting Australian players have no problem gambling measure, identification procedures, or player software that allows them to self exclude and set deposit limits.

With MGA online casinos unable to accept online casino players from Australia and no online casino licensing framework in the country, the government leaves players exposed to black market casinos that can not possibly all be covered under the IP and DNS banning system in place! Although we have seen some positives as the government bans credit cards for online gambling transactions, this will not stop players using their credit card in the online casino black market!

Staff constraints result in a lack of experience

The first witness in the inquiry, brought forward by the Royal Commission, said that no formal training in casino regulation had been given to him before he was appointed to the role on short notice. Duncan Ord, the Director-General at the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries, explained that they had to choose someone available within their department in the timeframe required. The complex rules surrounding casino governance made it difficult to find someone with that exact expertise, and they had to on the resources and varied expertise already available. Hence, Australian casino regulators exposed are now under the kosh.

Former Supreme Court Justices Lindy Jenkins and Neville Owen are joined by ex-Western Australia auditor-general Colin Murphy in leading the current probe into Crown Resort’s businesses in Western Australia. Their findings and recommendations in the investigation’s final report are expected by 14th November 2021.

Fishing trips and potential conflict of interest cause CCO to stand down

The Chief Casino Officer of Western Australia, Michael Connolly, apparently has links with some workers in the Crown Resorts, according to certain media reports. He had been going away on weekend fishing trips with a senior executive since 2013. This, in addition to the void of relevant experience in the regulatory body as mentioned above, has caused a stir in the office and has resulted in the CCO announcing that he will resign from his position. The main point of the hearings will be about the effectiveness of Western Australia’s Gaming and Wagering Commission along with how it has handled the operations of Crown Perth.

One of the primary witnesses in the hearing, Mr Ord, who also holds responsibility for regulating the gambling sector, stated that the local gambling regulator had been informed about these connections between Mr Connolly and Crown executives, but the fishing trips were not formally declared. Though Mr Connolly says that his friendships did not affect how he did his job, he held a substantial role in the regulation.

In addition, approved many casino staff members, and decided on the granting of operating licenses. So, to maintain the integrity of the inquiry, it was thought best that he steps down.

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