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Australia WA royal commission into Crown casino begins with Gaming and Wagering Commission boss taking the stand

12:35  10 may  2021
12:35  10 may  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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A royal commission into Crown Perth is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia ’s gaming regulator. He said the commission would focus on two strands - the regulation of casinos in WA and the suitability of Crown Perth to hold a casino licence. WA ’s Gaming and Wagering Commission has already directed Crown Perth to no longer hold junkets and to obtain the commission ’s approval to establish gaming bank accounts in a bid to prevent any further possible wrongdoing.

A royal commission into Crown Perth is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia ’s gaming regulator. Gaming and Wagering Commission chair Duncan Ord is expected on Monday to be the inquiry’s first witness at a hearing in Perth. Other witnesses slated to appear in coming weeks are GWC members Barry Sargeant and Katie Hodson-Thomas, WA ’s chief casino officer Mark Beecroft and his predecessor Michael Connolly. Mr Connolly stood aside from his role in February amid…

a palm tree in front of a building: The royal commission will examine whether Crown is fit to hold a casino licence in Perth. (ABC News: Hugh Sando) © Provided by ABC NEWS The royal commission will examine whether Crown is fit to hold a casino licence in Perth. (ABC News: Hugh Sando)

A bureaucrat in charge of regulating Crown casino in Perth stood aside from his role because of his "distress" about media reports that he had been fishing with casino staff, the Perth Casino Royal Commission was told today.

Giving evidence, Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) chair Duncan Ord said former chief casino officer Michael Connolly had notified the gambling regulator years ago that he had personal friendships with Crown Perth staff.

But he said Mr Connolly was "understandably" very distressed about media reports earlier this year that he had been socialising with casino staff, and found it hard to keep doing his duties under "such duress".

Western Australia's gaming regulator to front royal commission

  Western Australia's gaming regulator to front royal commission A royal commission into Crown Perth is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia's gaming regulator.Gaming and Wagering Commission chair Duncan Ord is expected on Monday to be the inquiry's first witness at a hearing in Perth.

A royal commission into Crown Perth (pictured) is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia 's gaming regulator. It emerged he had taken Crown employees, who were not senior managers or executives, fishing on his trailer boat in a social setting. Mr Ord said in a statement at the time that Mr Mr Owen said the WA inquiry would be informed by the NSW Bergin probe as well as a royal commission being undertaken in Victoria. He said the commission would focus on two strands - the regulation of casinos in WA and the suitability of Crown Perth to hold a casino license.

The royal commission will be run by three commissioners — former WA Supreme Court judges Lindy Jenkins and Neville Owen, and former WA auditor-general Colin Murphy. Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said it could cost about million and would be chaired by Justice Owen, who The government expects the royal commission will deliver an interim report by June, followed by a final report by November. WA 's Gaming and Wagering Commission (GWC) last month recommended the government establish an independent inquiry into Crown 's suitability to hold the state's only

They agreed he should step aside for these reasons and in the best interests of the GWC, although Mr Ord did not seek any advice from any other members of the commission about the decision.

"I believe that it was appropriate to accept that, and in doing so, we were wanting to show we were ensuring the integrity of the Gaming and Wagering Commission," he said.

Mr Ord — who also runs the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries, which has oversight of the GWC — was the first witness examined at the royal commission.

He was appointed head of the super-department established by the McGowan government soon after coming to power in 2017 and has overseen a broad range of portfolios.

No casino regulation experience

Mr Ord said until Mr Connolly had stood aside, there had been no full-time chief casino officer, but his replacement, Mark Beecroft, was working full-time as the casino officer and managing the GWC's role in the royal commission.

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A royal commission into Crown Perth is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia 's gaming regulator. Gaming and Wagering Commission chair Duncan Ord is expected on Monday to be the inquiry's first witness at a hearing in Perth. Other witnesses slated to appear in coming weeks are GWC members Barry Sargeant and Katie Hodson-Thomas, WA 's chief casino officer Mark Beecroft and his predecessor Michael Connolly. Mr Connolly stood aside from his role in February amid questions about his friendships with Crown staff. It emerged he had taken Crown

A royal commission into Crown Perth is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia 's gaming regulator. Gaming and Wagering Commission chair Duncan Ord is expected on Monday to be the inquiry's first witness at a hearing in Perth. Other witnesses slated to appear in coming weeks are GWC members Barry Sargeant and Katie Hodson-Thomas, WA 's chief casino officer Mark Beecroft and his predecessor Michael Connolly. Mr Connolly stood aside from his role in February amid questions about his friendships with Crown staff.

Traditionally, the position has been held by the deputy director-general of the department.

Mr Ord said he personally had no experience in casino regulation, and had received no training since assuming the role of GWC chair, although it required "extremely complex and technical skills".

He said he thought it would be an advantage to have an independent chair of the commission who had particular skills in regulation.

The royal commission was announced by the WA government as part of the fallout from the damning findings of the NSW inquiry released in early February, which found Crown Resorts was not suitable to hold a gaming licence at its new Barangaroo tower in Sydney.

The Bergin Inquiry, led by retired supreme court judge Patricia Bergin, uncovered issues with money laundering, poor governance and the operation of junkets by people linked to organised crime.

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A royal commission into Crown Perth is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia 's gaming regulator. Gaming and Wagering Commission chair Duncan Ord is expected on Monday to be the inquiry's first witness at a hearing in Perth. Other witnesses slated to appear in coming weeks are GWC members Barry Sargeant and Katie Hodson-Thomas, WA 's chief casino officer Mark Beecroft and his predecessor Michael Connolly. Mr Connolly stood aside from his role in February amid questions about his friendships with Crown staff.

A royal commission into Crown Perth is set to hear evidence from representatives of Western Australia 's gaming regulator. Gaming and Wagering Commission chair Duncan Ord is expected on Monday to be the inquiry's first witness at a hearing in Perth. Other witnesses slated to appear in coming weeks are GWC members Barry Sargeant and Katie Hodson-Thomas, WA 's chief casino officer Mark Beecroft and his predecessor Michael Connolly. Mr Connolly stood aside from his role in February amid questions about his friendships with Crown staff.

The Perth royal commission is wide-ranging in scope and will examine not just the suitability of Crown to hold a casino licence, but the regulation of the entire gambling industry in the state.

Former WA Supreme Court judge Neville Owen, who oversaw the royal commission into the collapse of insurance giant HIH Insurance, is chairing the casino commission.

WA Supreme Court judge Lindy Jenkins and former WA auditor-general Colin Murphy are the other two commissioners.

In her opening address, counsel assisting the royal commission Patricia Cahill said that the GWC did not have the independence from government which the Bergin inquiry had highlighted as being "important".


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