Thu, Nov 24, 5:30pm by Staff Writer
Sydney’s controversial lockout laws have had no effect on the amount of assaults reported at The Star casino.
Despite the NSW Government’s lockout laws being introduced two years ago, a study has found that staff at Sydney’s Star Casino are just as likely to report assaults as they were before the controversial legislation came into effect.
The laws introduced include 1:30am lockouts and 3am last drinks in the precinct stretching from parts of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst to The Rocks, and from Kings Cross to Cockle Bay.
While anecdotal evidence has suggested a reduction in the amount of assaults, an independent report found reporting of assaults by The Star has not decreased since lockout laws were introduced.
The casino’s Pyrmont location means it is just outside the lockout and last-drinks zone — a fact Premier Mike Baird has been heavily criticised for. There have been some claims that The Star could have been trying to hide violent incidents after the controversial legislation came into effect.
These allegations came about after leaked documents from the NSW Department of Justice suggested the casino was under-reporting the number of assaults at the venue.
The secrecy claims prompted the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) to examine reported assaults at the casino’s Darling Harbour headquarters since 2012.
The bureau’s director Don Weatherburn said “Prior to the lockout laws 56.5 per cent of assaults reported to police at the Star were reported by its own staff.”
“In the 24 months after the [law] reforms, 60 per cent were reported by staff at the casino.”
The study, which looked at 278 incidents, did not address whether the casino was under-reporting assaults.
“It may well be that there are serious assaults at the Star that are not being reported — we didn’t look at that,” Mr Weatherburn said.
“All we looked at was whether or not there’d been a change in the willingness of staff to report assaults.”
Throughout the entire process, The Star has consistently denied it was under-reporting assaults and to issued a statement welcoming the bureau’s findings.
“We are pleased our position has now been validated by the BOCSAR report,” the statement read.
“BOCSAR acknowledged if there was under-reporting you would expect to see a decline in the reporting of incidents by staff and, logically, a rise in victim reporting, but the reverse has been the case.”
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