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Australia, Victoria Casino Authority Calls for Review of Laws

5 July 2002

AUSTRALIA -- As reported by the Australia Age: "The Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority has called for a review of gaming laws in a bid to improve the operations of the Office of Gambling Regulation, which faces an Ombudsman's probe over allegations of misconduct by senior managers.

"Authority chairman Brian Forrest said the office was compromised because gaming laws required that it answer to several masters, who often had `conflicting interests'.

"…`The fundamental issue is whether the office should be involved in revenue and tax collection,' Mr Forrest said.

"…The Interchurch Gambling Taskforce called for a `clean-out' of senior managers at the office.

"Taskforce spokesman Reverend Tim Costello said OGR chief executive Bill Lahey and other senior managers should resign or be sacked after Ombudsman Barry Perry found the office inappropriately received $US200,000 ($A357,000) from an American poker machine maker it was investigating.

"Dr Perry is holding a second investigation into allegations Mr Lahey and other senior managers improperly destroyed files and did not carry out their statutory duties.

"…Mr Costello called on Premier Steve Bracks to remove the OGR from Treasury control, saying there was no way it could properly perform its regulatory duties when it reported to a department responsible for government revenue.

"He also said the government should return the $US200,000 to poker machine company International Game Technology if it was keen to restore its integrity of gambling regulation…"

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