The Casino Control Amendment (Barangaroo Restricted Gaming Facility) Act 2013 No. 100 (NSW) (Barangaroo Act) was enacted on 27 November 2013 to enable Crown Resorts Limited to be granted a licence for its proposed $1.5 billion six star Crown Sydney Hotel Resort at Barangaroo, Sydney, which will include a VIP gaming facility. The Barangaroo Act provides that a restricted gaming licence may be granted to operate the Barangaroo gaming facility, and imposes various restrictions on gaming at the facility. It also makes related amendments to the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW) (CCA), the Gaming Machines Act 2001 (NSW), and the Unlawful Gambling Act 1998 (NSW).
The restrictions include:
- The gaming areas in the facility must not exceed 20,000 square meters;
- The installation or use of “poker machines” (as defined in s.22A of the CCA) is not lawful in the gaming facility. This does not include electronic versions of traditional table games, multi terminal games or multi-player games (such games must be approved by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA)).
- The ILGA is prohibited from authorising the keeping of any gaming machines on any premises situated on the Barangaroo site outside the gaming facility itself. This could be seen as both a restriction upon and a protection for Crown, depending upon the ownership / leasing of the relevant site;
- The conduct or the playing of any game in the gaming facility is not lawful before 15 November 2019;
- Minimum bet limits will apply to any game in the gaming facility (for example, $30 for baccarat, $20 for blackjack, and $25 for roulette or such higher amount as may be determined by the ILGA). These are designed to limit patronage to premium or VIP customers and not mass market customers (although doubts have been expressed in the media as to whether such limits are high enough to deter local gamblers); and
- Only persons who, in accordance with the conditions of the licence, are members or guests of the gaming facility may participate in any gaming.
It is noted that the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW) will not apply to gaming areas in the facility and therefore smoking will be permitted. However, air quality equipment that is of an international best practice standard must be installed, and must be tested quarterly with the results reported annually to the Minister of Health.
Crown has applied to the ILGA for approval to be issued with a restricted gaming facility licence at Barangaroo. In accordance with s.13A of the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW) the ILGA must now determine whether Crown, and each “close associate” of Crown, is a suitable person to be concerned in, or associated with, the management and operation of the Barangaroo restricted gaming facility. This process is already well underway.