WA government beefs up casino penalties

·2-min read

Western Australia's casino operator will face maximum penalties of up to $100 million for failing to comply with regulations under new laws.

A royal commission this year found Crown Resorts was unsuitable to run the state's casino but gave the operator two years to clean up its act under independent monitoring.

It found Crown and its subsidiaries facilitated money laundering at the casino, failed to implement systems to detect suspicious transactions and permitted junkets with criminal links to operate at the Burswood complex.

The McGowan government will introduce new legislation to parliament on Wednesday addressing the commission's recommendations.

It will enable an independent chair to be appointed to WA's gaming regulator who will oversee the casino's remediation process.

The maximum fine for non-compliance with WA regulations will increase from $100,000 to $100 million.

Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti said the legislation would allow the government to hold the casino operator to account.

"Greater integrity is not optional. The WA government will have a new independent monitor and much higher penalties to ensure the highest standards are upheld," he said.

"We will also be able to recoup the cost of the independent monitor from the casino operator under provisions within the bill.

"Once this legislation has passed, we will progress with further reforms to bring the state's other casino laws into the 21st century."

The takeover of Crown Resorts by US private equity giant Blackstone was approved this month by the Federal Court and regulators in WA, NSW and Victoria.

Mr Buti said at the time Blackstone would be required to meet stringent conditions, including enhanced reporting of anti-money laundering and responsible gambling activities.

The WA royal commission found Crown had failed to minimise gambling-related harm and was not open and accountable in its communications with the state regulator.

The report, containing 59 recommendations, also found there had been numerous deficiencies in the oversight of the casino by WA's Gaming and Wagering Commission and Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Future legislative changes will focus on overhauling WA's regulatory framework and replacing the decades-old Casino Control Act.

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