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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2284 ..

Casino Control Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Humphries , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (10.33): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I ask for leave to have my presentation speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:

Mr Speaker, the Casino Control Amendment Bill Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 provides for the correction of some provisions in the Casino Control Act 1988 to ensure that it meets the regulatory needs of the Government.

The Casino Control Act 1988 currently allows for the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission to take disciplinary action against the casino licensee for breaches of the Act. Following three significant breaches of the legislation in February 2000, the Commission decided to take disciplinary action against the casino licensee in accordance with the Government Solicitor's advice. The casino appealed against this action being taken, even though they had fully admitted to the breaches of the Act. The appeals were based on technical matters with the Act and whether the Commission had power to take such action.

As it turned out, the Supreme Court agreed with the casino licensee. The judgement outlined that the Casino Control Act 1988 did not provide the Commission with the power to take the action that it proposed in relation to two of the incidents. In relation to the third incident, the judgement indicated that the Act required that consideration needed to be given to the specific role and responsibilities of the casino licensee in relation to the conduct of gaming and not just the actions of the casino employees.

Mr Speaker, this left the Commission and the Government in the intolerable position of not being able to properly regulate the casino's operations because of technical problems with the legislation. It is essential that the Act be amended so that it can operate as originally intended by the Assembly.

The proposed changes to the legislation, Mr Speaker, are mainly technical in nature and correct anomalies identified in the current Casino Control Act.

Briefly, the amendments cover a number of references to the casino licensee in the Act which have been expanded to include casino employees and agents to ensure that the casino licensee takes appropriate responsibility for those persons working at the casino.

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