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Greens Move for Royal Commission into Influence of the Gambling Industry in NSW

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
23 August 2023

Greens MP and spokesperson for Gambling Harm Reduction, Cate Faehrmann, has given notice of a motion in the Upper House calling on the Government to establish a Royal Commission into the gambling industry in NSW. Ms Faehrmann has written to leaders of all parties and the crossbench to support the call. 

Independent Member for Murray, Helen Dalton, has given notice of the same motion in the Lower House.

The call comes after documents produced by an order for papers by both Houses of Parliament show that the former head of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), Philip Crawford, wrote to then Minister for Gaming Victor Dominello on 30 November 2021, requesting the Government establish a Special Commission of Inquiry into money laundering in hotels and registered clubs.

Mr Crawford’s letter stated that ILGA’s investigation provides:

 “clear evidence that money laundering appears to be just as prevalent in hotels and clubs as it has been found to be in the casino industry, if not more so given that there are close to 2,500 venues in NSW authorised to operate gambling machines, and that this project focused on only a select number of venues”

The investigation also revealed that a significant amount of money laundering was taking place in a handful of venues.

“These revelations are, in the words of the former head of the gambling regulator, ‘deeply concerning’ and must be enough for the Premier to act,” said Ms Faehrmann.

“More than 18 months ago now, the former Government was provided with alarming evidence of the extent of money laundering in pubs and clubs, including that 41% of money laundering activity was taking place at just ten venues. 

“Their response was to sack the Minister who was wanting action and replace him with the National Party’s Kevin Anderson who halted any further investigations and gutted the investigations unit. 

“The fact that these documents weren’t produced for the NSW Crime Commission’s investigations into money laundering is incredibly concerning and suggests a cover up from either within the former Minister’s office or Liquor and Gaming NSW, or both.

“The public needs to know whether successive governments have turned a blind eye to the actions of individual venues in money laundering.

“With everything that has now come to light there’s more than enough evidence for a Royal Commission into the gambling industry in NSW.

“It’s clear that the gambling industry has had an undue influence on our democracy and it’s time a spotlight was shone on all aspects of the industry and that influence.

“Just as NSW had a Royal Commission into police corruption in the 1990s which resulted in hundreds of corrupt police officers being dismissed, it’s time we now had one into the gambling industry,” says Ms Faehrmann.

Text of the motion, given notice of in both houses:

Ms Faehrmann says—

Mr PRESIDENT:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move: 

  1. That this House calls upon the Premier to establish a Royal Commission, staffed by personnel who hold no ties to the gambling industry, to inquire into the conduct, integrity and influence of the gambling industry in New South Wales, with particular reference to:
    1. The nature and extent of the influence of the gambling industry over elected representatives, political parties, democratic processes, and decision making in NSW;
    2. The social and economic impacts of electronic gambling machines in NSW;
    3. The extent to which electronic gambling machines in clubs and hotels have been appropriated to facilitate criminal conduct;
    4. The involvement, if any, of clubs and hotels, or employees thereof, in encouraging, assisting or facilitating criminal conduct through their electronic gaming machines and other gambling offerings;
    5. The effectiveness of and culture around processes and procedures used by clubs and hotels to prevent their electronic gaming machines and other gambling offerings being used to facilitate criminal conduct;
    6. The adequacy and effectiveness of the responses by Liquor and Gaming NSW and the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, to reports and information about allegations, incidents or risks of money laundering or bribing employees or directors of clubs and hotels, or government agencies, and related matters;
    7. The existence of or potential for corruption, neglect, or violation of duty by Liquor and Gaming NSW and the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (and any differently named predecessors) officials in enforcing compliance of the gambling industry;
    8. The nature of and extent to which other measures could be implemented to minimise the risk of money laundering through electronic gaming machines in hotels and clubs in NSW, such as the introduction of cashless gambling;
    9. The extent to which those measures could also assist in developing world’s best practice harm reduction measures;
    10. The adequacy and effectiveness of the Gaming Machines Act 2001, and all other relevant legislation, to meet its objectives;
    11. The transparency, accountability and legitimacy of the NSW ClubGRANTS scheme; 
    12. Any other matter relating to the industry, the inquiry into which the Royal Commission deems to be in the public interest.
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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
23 August 2023
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