Strict Legislative Framework ForCasinos Could Be On The Horizon In Queensland

The Queensland government is cracking down on land-based casinos, emulating the measures implemented by states such as New South Wales and Victoria through the introduction of tougher regulations. The Casino and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 proposes the implementation of mandatory carded play, enforced breaks, cash restrictions, and spending limits. Additionally, the bill incorporates recommendations outlined in the latest Review of the Queensland Operations of The Star Entertainment Group.

While such measures may soon be implemented for land-based casinos, the possibility of similar, if not a more stringent legislation may also be enforced for the online counterparts. The reality is that, today, many gamblers like the idea of being able to practice their pastime in the comfort of their own homes. This has become more possible in recent years with the surge in no deposit casinos – specifically those advertised on NoDepositQuest, since its list is updated on a regular basis.

Growing Concerns

The government is committed to addressing the increasing rates of gambling harm and prioritizing integrity by implementing stricter laws, in line with the recommendations from last year’s Review of the Queensland Operations of The Star Entertainment Group. The government’s investigation into The Star was initiated back in 2022, following concerns about anti-money laundering and player safety. The review focused on China UnionPay payments and revealed that the company was guilty of misleading banks about the intention behind these transactions.

Star was subsequently slapped with a AU $100 million fine for casino failures in its Queensland location, along with a separate AU $100 million fine for The Star Sydney in NSW due to the results of a separate investigation. Despite these shortcomings, the group has continued to push through with the completion of their new casino at Queen’s Wharf on the horizon. However, The Star is also facing investor pushback following the recent government reforms, resulting in a significant drop in the company’s stock price. The stock has hit a new low, experiencing a decline of AU $1.55 since the beginning of 2023.

Bill Breakdown

The bill aims to create a safer gambling environment by tightening casino operations, introducing measures such as mandatory carded play in all Queensland casinos. This means that players would be required to preload money onto a card to gamble, inadvertently setting a budget and allowing their activity to be tracked more easily. The government is also advocating for casinos to implement a pre-commitment system for players, prohibiting them from gambling unless they adhere to specific rules, including enforced gambling breaks and limits on losses.

There could also be instances where casinos will be instructed by the police to exclude an individual from their establishment. A supervision levy on casino operators is anticipated to be imposed, with the amount expected to be determined at the start of each financial year by the minister, ensuring that taxpayers do not bear the cost of regulating casinos. Additionally, significant penalties will be imposed for non-compliance.

Just The Beginning

This is not the first time Queensland has chosen to enforce a strict legislative framework for casinos. Back in 2021, the government established a four-year minimization plan with the aim of preventing and reducing gambling harm in the Australian state. The plan outlined shared roles and responsibilities for the industry, community, and government to address the alarming rates of problem gambling. It emphasized social responsibility and advocated for the adoption of systematic approaches to combat the growing issue.

The land-based casino scene in Queensland is dominated by four major players, including The Ville in Townsville, The Reef in Cairns, and The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane under the Star Entertainment Group. Recent reports have revealed that within the financial year of 2022-23, Queenslanders lost more than $5 billion to gambling, marking an 11.3% increase from the previous financial year and underscoring the state’s urgent need for action.

While the government has already committed to providing $7.8 million to Gambling Help Queensland, these new laws, which will subject Queensland casinos and associated organizations to a review every five years to ensure compliance with regulations, will help mitigate gambling harm and modernize the industry for the new age. Thus ensuring its sustainability for many years to come.