The impetus for the Perth Casino Royal Commission (PCRC) was the publication on 1 February 2021 of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) report handed down by Patricia Bergin SC (Bergin Report). The background to the ILGA inquiry, established under s 143 of the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW) (Bergin Inquiry), and the findings made in the Bergin Report are relevant to understand the matters which are the subject of the PCRC’s terms of reference.
The Bergin Inquiry was established to inquire into the suitability of Crown Sydney Gaming Pty Ltd (Barangaroo Licensee) to give effect to the restricted gaming licence for the proposed Barangaroo Casino at a development on the Sydney Harbour foreshore and the suitability of Crown Resorts Limited (Crown Resorts) to be a close associate of the Barangaroo Licensee.
Publicity surrounding money laundering at Australian casinos and the findings of the Bergin Inquiry have led to a series of separate inquiries being initiated by regulators and others in other Australian jurisdictions. While these inquiries are separate, independent and constituted under different legislation with different terms of reference, they share a commonality of subject matter.
The requirement under the terms of reference to make findings on the adequacy of the regulatory framework and recommendations for the future has required both a past and forward review of the regulatory framework. Consequently, a significant body of research has been undertaken to understand the historical background surrounding the establishment of the Perth Casino and the design of the regulatory framework. The PCRC has also examined the changes that have occurred within the regulatory regime over the last 30 years.
This interim report does not contain a summary of the evidence heard to date because the evidence of some witnesses is incomplete. The PCRC will finalise its view on the evidence when it has heard all the evidence from every witness and had an opportunity to hear closing submissions. Further, the interim report does not refer to every topic canvassed in evidence and every relevant issued raised concerning the Regulatory Framework Terms of Reference. The significance of many issues will only be known when the evidence and final submissions have been heard.