|Rise in children dumped outside casino
By Vanda Carson - Canberra Times (ACT Metropolitan, 2 February 2009)
THE number of parents banned from Star City casino after dumping their children outside has doubled in the past year, placing pressure on the State Government to introduce tougher measures.
Last year, 18 parents were found to have left their children in the casino's car park, food court, foyer and hotel rooms while they gambled.
On average one child was abandoned every three weeks. The number is up from just nine cases in 2006-07.
The figures were contained in a report published last month by the Casino Control Authority, the State Government body aimed at keeping the casino free from criminal influence and exploitation.
Since opening as a temporary casino in 1994, Star City has banned 317 people for abandoning their children.
A further 37 people were banned after the NSW Police Commissioner ordered them to be refused entry, a figure which has also more than doubled in the past year.
Complaints about Star City dealer blunders and allegations that poker machines were not paying out correctly were also up by 27 per cent, while visitor numbers were only up by 3 per cent to 9.3 million, according to the report.
Another 85 people were banned for theft and 18 people were on the blacklist for reasons such as failing to pay for their meals or substance abuse.
Star City management and security can order patrons to leave or refuse them entry, and offences include cheating, sleights of hand, using bogus, counterfeit or stolen chips, or loaded or marked cards, dice or coins.
Star City's 210 tables produced revenues of $370 million and its 1500 poker machines produced $210 million in the past year, the report reveals.
In June the Casino Control Authority's work was transferred to the new Casino Liquor and Gaming Control Authority.
The listed gambling giant Tabcorp, which owns Star City, renewed its licence to operate the casino in March last year in return for a $100 million fee to the State Government and a 3 per cent rise in the average tax rate.
It won concessions allowing gambling controls and surveillance to be watered down. It has promised to spend $475 million on building a hotel tower, extending the gaming area and upgrading the casino. | End