Two-thirds of assaults at Sydney’s Star casino not reported to police

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Old Casino Mike will have no problems dealing with this lot, perhaps even a nice stay at Barangaroo.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Two-thirds of assaults at Sydney’s Star casino not reported to police” was written by Elle Hunt, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 1st November 2016 02.38 UTC

Leaked documents show nearly two-thirds of assaults at the Star casino in Sydney are not being reported to police, indicating that the problem of alcohol-related violence at the venue could be much greater than reported.

An internal state government review of violence at the casino leaked to the ABC indicates that serious incidents are more than three times higher than reported in official crime statistics and almost five times higher than reported to senior casino managers.

In an analysis of daily incident reports sent to the New South Wales Department of Justice between March and August this year, Liquor and Gaming NSW inspectors found many violent incidents had been recorded as “behaviour” or “forced removals” instead of assaults.

Of 111 violent incidents in six months, police were not called to 75, the ABC reported late on Monday. They included a patron whose leg was broken at the Marquee nightclub inside the casino and a brawl involving five patrons. A security guard head-butting a patron also went unreported to police.

Seventy-nine per cent of violent incidents were not included in a monthly report to casino executives that was passed on to the state government.

After accounting for the busier summer period, the true number of violent assaults at the casino could be as many as 250 a year, which would make it the state’s most violent venue.

According to the ABC report, the Department of Justice review noted that the discrepancy was concerning and recommended changing the casino’s licence to include a “crime scene preservation condition” that penalised inconsistent reporting to police.

“Of concern is the fact that violent incidents are not being reported to police in many instances, irrespective of the apparent severity of incident,” it stated. “This means that statistical violent incident trends for the casino are not necessarily accurate.”

The casino’s managing director, Greg Hawkins, was contacted by Paul Newson, the deputy secretary of Liquor, Gaming and Emergency Management, on 14 October and given two weeks to explain the “troubling” discrepancy between official crime statistics and incident reports.

The ABC reported that Newson told Hawkins the “scale of variation in this case is disturbing”.

The Star said in a statement the report contained “inaccurate information” and “significantly misplaced concerns” as it misunderstood the reporting process at the casino.

NSW police had an onsite presence at the Star between February and September 2015 that was subsequently removed.

“If police had any concerns, it is inconceivable that those resources would have been withdrawn,” the statement said.

The casino provided confidential internal reports to Liquor and Gaming NSW, and collaborated with NSW police and the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, the statement said.

“On that basis, there can be no suggestion the Star does not adequately report incidents,” it said.

Newson said in a statement provided to Guardian Australia that the document was its “preliminary internal report … prepared to guide ongoing discussions with the casino”.

It was not a comprehensive or final view of the adequacy of the Star’s reporting arrangements for violent incidents, he said.

“It’s imprudent and premature to draw conclusions at this early stage until a more informed and complete understanding is achieved.”

The Star, in Pyrmont, is just outside the area covered by Sydney’s controversial lockout laws, which has prompted accusations that the casino received preferential treatment from the NSW premier, Mike Baird.

An increase in alcohol-related, non-domestic assaults in Pyrmont in NSW police figures in June 2015 was attributed to a jump in the number of assaults at the casino since the introduction of the lockout laws.

The most recent analysis from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, in April 2016, found a “fairly small” increase.

In September an independent review of the laws suggested they could be relaxed to allow entertainment venues to remain open until 2am and serve alcohol until 3.30am.

No, you can’t have a scotch on the rocks. There’s more to the lockout laws than early closures

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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