ILGA chair to head NSW Independent Casino Commission

NICC head Philip Crawford

The government of New South Wales has appointed Philip Crawford, the chairman of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (IGLA), as head of the newly created NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC).

In a public statement released on Tuesday, NSW hospitality minister Kevin Anderson said, “Mr Crawford has a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory issues facing modern casinos and the need to fundamentally reset the way they operate. 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 minister added that Crawford will be assisted by four other commissioners with experience in the casino regulation industry: Janine Rolfe, Murray Smith, Craig Sahlin and Stephen Parbery. The four will leave the ILGA to work in the NICC, while Crawford will remain on the ILGA board as an ordinary member while working fulltime on the NICC.

Anderson added that the first and most pressing task of the commission will be to look into the findings presented by the Bell Inquiry into Star Entertainment and to supervise the “ongoing suitability assessment of Crown Sydney”.

The NICC was formed under the 1992 Casino Control Act to be an independent statutory authority concerned with decision-making on licensing and disciplinary matters.

Despite the commission’s autonomy, there will be an active collaboration between the body, ILGA and the Ministry of Hospitality and Racing. This will also include the NSW police and Crime Commission as they all work together to identify and fight potential law enforcement issues in the industry, such as money laundering.

Earlier this month, the NSW government passed legislation that allowed the NICC to fine casino operators as much as $100 million for regulatory breaches.