The Star “rejects” violence data charges

By Andy Young, editor TheShout

Sydney’s The Star Casino and Liquor and Gaming NSW have responded to a report from the ABC, which alleged that nearly two-thirds of assaults on the site are not being reported to police.

The ABC said that it has seen a leaked internal NSW Government report, which suggested that “the number of serious incidents are more than three times higher than official crime statistics and almost five times higher than reported to senior casino managers”.

A spokesperson for The Star told TheShout that the casino rejects the report and that it demonstrates a “lack of understanding of The Star’s business”.

The spokesperson said: “The Star rejects the report as it contains inaccurate information, a misunderstanding of the incident reporting process at The Star and expresses significantly misplaced concerns that reflect a lack of understanding of The Star’s business.

“The report fails to address that NSW Police had an onsite presence at The Star between February and September 2015. That onsite presence was subsequently removed. If Police had any concerns, it is inconceivable that those resources would have been withdrawn.

“Has the report received input from the NSW Police or ILGA? The Star has worked collaboratively with both for many years.

“Further, The Star is the most highly-regulated licensed operator in NSW and willingly provided confidential internal reports to Liquor & Gaming NSW, which was established as the new regulator earlier this year.

“On that basis, there can be no suggestion The Star does not adequately report incidents.

“Have any other licensed operators been approached on a similar basis? Are there any legitimate comparisons to be made anywhere in NSW or other Australian states?

“The Star is well aware of its legal and regulatory obligations and has a comprehensive program of strategies to minimise alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour. The bulk of these have been adopted voluntarily.

“The Star has had no chance to discuss the content of the report with L&G NSW. It is an opportunity The Star has now been offered, and has accepted. However, The Star is still waiting for those discussions to occur.”

Liquor & Gaming NSW also responded to the report, with Deputy Secretary, Liquor, Gaming and Emergency Management, NSW Department of Justice, Paul Newson, saying: “As the regulator of the casino, Liquor & Gaming NSW has conducted an initial review of reporting arrangements for violent incidents.

“Engaging with operators, understanding their environment and current approaches, providing guidance and promoting best practice are part of our broader industry supervision role across all licensed venues across in the state.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW actively monitors and engages with industry to ensure operators are effectively discharging their responsibilities to minimise the risk of harm from misuse and abuse of alcohol and associated alcohol-related violence.

“It is appropriate that we maintain a candid and robust dialogue to ensure effective engagement and necessary rigour to our oversight role.

“This preliminary internal report was prepared to guide ongoing discussions with the casino. The report relies on initial analysis, is not a comprehensive or final view of the adequacy of current arrangements, but rather the first step in an ongoing dialogue to identify and remediate any potential gaps.

“It’s worth noting our preliminary report examined internal reporting practices within the casino and incidents at the casino that did not result in police attendance. This is a separate issue to incidents being reported to police.

“It’s imprudent and premature to draw conclusions at this early stage until a more informed and complete understanding is achieved.”

Fairfax Media has today also claimed that the new major study will now take place, which will investigate the impact of the Sydney lockout and last drink laws, with director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Dr Don Weatherburn, saying the fresh analysis will be ready by mid-2017.

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