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The Star called out for opaque reporting of assaults

The Star Casino will remain outside the Sydney lockout laws, despite the opaque reporting of assaults.

Star Sydney casino
Star casino needs to be clearer when reporting assaults.

The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) found The Star Casino has not been under-reporting violent incidents, but the terminology used to describe assaults, including the use of ‘behaviour’, needs to be more transparent.

“The Star reports only, relevantly, incidents satisfying the restricted definition of ‘assault’ (a definition directed to the Violent Venues Scheme) that excludes other – lesser – incidents involving violence,” the report released by the regulator on Tuesday states.

“This … does not mean that The Star is under-reporting incidents involving violence either internally or externally.”

The five-year review report follows the October leak of the internal NSW government study on 278 incidents at the Star from 2012, which found 79 per cent did not result in a police report and 67 per cent did not see police attendance. This resulted in allegations the Star was under-reporting incidents to fend off the lockout zone being extended to include the Pyrmont venue.

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) followed up the leaked documents with a study which alleviated these concerns.

“There is no evidence that staff at The Star casino have become less willing to report assaults to police since the lockout law reforms in February 2014,” the report states.

The report by the NSW IGLA also looks at these issues surrounding reporting incidents to the police.

“The Star has a difficult judgement to make in deciding in what circumstances police ought be called to attend or a contemporaneous report ought be made to them,” the report states.

“The Star may not have always exercised that judgment by erring on the side of caution: there are, perhaps, two incidents which ought to have been reported to police that were not.”

This comes as the NSW government has moved to maintain lockout laws in Sydney, with alcohol sales moving from 10pm to 11pm and the lockout law of 2am changing to 3:30am. But despite the ambiguous assault reporting found in the report there was no recommendation to extend the exclusion zone to include the Star Casino.

Recommendations which are included in the report include better “descriptors that more clearly state the character of incidents and their nature” so “all incidents involving violence would come to the attention of police”, as well as providing “a clear description of the relevant conduct which is neither euphemistic nor overly general.”

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It’s interesting the recommendations of the report do not include extending the lockout laws zone since this is the main issue underlying these reviews, studies and reports. While BOSCAR found there was no under-reporting, the study did find there was an increase in violent incidents occurring. This is concurred in the report by the NSW IGLA showing the issue which is enforced on pubs and clubs in Sydney CBD and Kings Cross is apparently non-existent in Pyrmont and instead is a terminology issue when it comes to the Star Casino.

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