Open letter to Daniel Andrews - Alliance for Gambling Reform

Open letter to Daniel Andrews

The Alliance for Gambling Reform have written to Dan Andrews, Marlene Kairouz MP, Tim Pallas, Jenny Mikakos MP and Martin Foley MP to seek their support for a Royal Commission into Crown Casino, and gambling more broadly, in Victoria.

Their support for Royal Commissions into family violence and the mental health system in Victoria has been most welcome. Now it’s time for them to step up and support a Royal Commission into an industry that causes extensive harm to our community, and is inextricably linked with both family violence and mental ill-health.

Open letter to Premier Andrews calling on a Royal Commission into Crown Casino and the gambling industry

Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews MP

via daniel.andrews@parliament.vic.gov.au

CC: The Hon Marlene Kairouz MP, The Hon Tim Pallas MP, The Hon Gavin Jennings MLC,The Hon Jenny Mikakos MLC, The Hon Martin Foley MP

13 August 2019

Dear Premier Andrews,

I write this open letter to implore your Government to order a Royal Commission into gambling in Victoria.

The recent revelations about Crown Casino’s connections to money laundering and other illegal activities are undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to impropriety within the gambling industry.

In recent years there have been scandals surrounding gambling in the AFL, rugby league and cricket, thoroughbred and greyhound racing, and in regards to poker machine venues not complying with regulations. These are just the issues we know about, some via whistleblowers. A Royal Commission will be able to flush out wrongdoing within the broader gambling industry.

A study commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Foundation estimated one in five Victorians may be experiencing gambling harm. This is partially due to how pervasive gambling is in Victoria, meaning a thorough investigation into such a prominent industry is essential.

There is an established connection between gambling harm, family violence and mental ill-health, making this a public health issue. Your Government has rightly instigated Royal Commissions into family violence and mental health; I applaud you for this. It is time to apply a similar microscope to gambling.

Last week the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority announced an inquiry, to be led by former NSW Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin, SC. This inquiry will include “ensuring that the management and operation of a casino remain free from criminal influence or exploitation, that gaming in a casino is conducted honestly and controlling the potential of a casino to cause harm to the public interest and to individuals and families”. Clearly this level of inquiry is also needed in Victoria.

Your Government has proposed a much less comprehensive, and thus significantly less effective, inquiry into the allegations made against Crown. This is despite these allegations being of deep concern from both a regulatory and public interest perspective.

The integrity of Crown, and the gambling industry more broadly, is clearly in question and only a Royal Commission will uncover the myriad connections to power that are allowing these wrongdoings to occur.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform eagerly awaits your response on such a pressing issue.

The Rev Tim Costello

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