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Following leads from other states, Queensland has now introduced its own parliament bill to place tighter controls on the casino industry. Under the new regulations, state casinos must enact carded play, pre-commitment from players, restrictions on cash use, and spending limits. This bill comes as a result of a review of the Star Entertainment Group’s Queensland operations.
On Friday, multiple sources reported on a new casino bill being considered by Parliament. The Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 gives the government the authority to enact all the recommendations from last year’s review of Star Entertainment Group’s Queensland operation. In that report, 12 recommendations were suggested to reform the industry.
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath announced the bill last week. The new legislation, if successful, will amend several existing gambling laws. This includes the Casino Control Act of 1982 and the Gambling Machine Act 1991.
The bill will require the following changes from Queensland casinos:
According to D’Ath, the new regulations will also apply to casino executives who must undertake additional duties. Failure of executives to meet these duties will result in stiff personal penalties. Also, associations that work with Queensland casinos will be subject to inquiries every five years to determine suitability. Additionally, a supervision levy will be imposed upon casinos to fund this new legislation.
Per D’Ath, “This Bill will enable us to continue working in implementing all 12 recommendations outlined in Mr. Gotterson’s review.
These reforms will continue to modernise Queensland’s gambling and casino laws to ensure they remain effective now and into the future.”
This new legislation was not surprising, considering similar measures are also being implemented in Victoria and New South Wales. Those bills included many of the same measures as the Queensland bill, particularly mandatory carded play and restrictions on cash usage. These are popular buzz points in the industry in Australia at the moment and something that we knew would eventually come to Queensland.
There are four casinos in Queensland. The Star Entertainment Group operates Treasure Brisbane and Star Gold Coast. The Reef in Cairns and The Ville in Townsville are the other two. Star Entertainment has received stiff penalties for its failures in Australia. They received a fine of $100 million in NSW, along with another $100 million fine from Queensland.
Will the Controls Make Gambling Any Safer?
On the surface, the new bill may offer some additional protections, but it will come at the loss of some personal freedoms. Players who choose to gamble in Queensland casinos will undergo mandatory carding and must determine their play intentions. Some could see this as an invasion of privacy, as not everyone wants the government to know their every move.
Other people will not appreciate the limits that will be placed upon their play. Spending limits and mandatory breaks could be seen as another violation of personal freedoms.
However, the government is banking on the new restrictions being a way to help control problem gambling among players. With carded gaming and restrictions on play, casinos can quickly identify those who may be having a problem and take steps to help them before their habits get out of hand.
Ultimately, gambling is supposed to be entertainment. There are limits to our entertainment. For example, you can’t run onto the field during a football game and start playing. With gambling, these restrictions are meant to keep gambling fun and entertaining while making sure players only play with money they can afford.