Philip Crawford, the current chairperson of the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA), has been selected as chief commissioner of the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC).
Minister for hospitality and racing Kevin Anderson named Crawford, Janine Rolfe, Murray Smith, Craig Sahlin and Stephen Parbery as the five experienced casino commissioners who will transfer from ILGA to lead the newly established organisation when it begins operations on 5 September.
Anderson said NICC’s most pressing task will be considering the findings of Adam Bell SC’s Star review and continuing the supervision and ongoing suitability assessment of Crown Sydney.
“Mr Crawford has a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory issues facing modern casinos and the need to fundamentally reset the way they operate,” Anderson said.
“Under his leadership, NSW casinos will be monitored in line with the new laws and face strong disciplinary action for compliance failures, past and present.”
The NICC was created under the Casino Control Act 1992 as a statutory authority with a high level of independence around decision-making on licensing and disciplinary matters. Its creation was one of the 19 recommendations included in the Bergin Report into Crown Sydney, which was published in February 2021.
The NICC has been established as an independent, standalone, specialist casino regulator, alongside a series of legislative reforms aimed at preventing criminal activity related to casino operations.
“Mr Crawford will work full time as chief commissioner and in this role will continue to support ILGA as an ordinary board member to ensure consistency in approach,” Anderson said.
“The NICC will be a collaborative body, working with ILGA and Hospitality & Racing, and as part of a multi-agency coordination committee with the NSW police and the NSW Crime Commission to guide the regulatory efforts of both NICC and ILGA, and to identify potential law enforcement collaborations in areas such as money laundering.”
Earlier this month, the NSW government introduced new legislation to increase the maximum fine for land-based casino operators in the Australian state to AUS$100m (£57.3m/€68.5m/US$69.7m).
The legislation would grant additional powers to the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC), allowing it to issue the larger fines to casinos.
Other reforms in the legislation include regular reviews of casino licences to be conducted as public inquiries with Royal Commission-like powers, while casino operators would be compelled to provide full disclosure of requested information and notify the NICC of any breach or likely breach of the law.