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As violence soars at the Star Casino, many Australians are upset that the casino avoids Sydney’s draconian lockout laws. A scathing report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics (BOCSAR) reveals that violent crimes are on the rise in Pyrmont since the implementation of lockout laws. These findings are in direct contradiction to claims by the Star Casino that crime has dropped on their premises. While violence on their premises is staying steady, it spreads to bordering neighbourhoods. Since Pyrmont is receiving more drunken violence from the casino, people are starting to question the true motives behind the lockout laws.
“We know these areas are hotbeds for assaults and self-harm, but they bring in too much money for the state government to want to curb,” head of anti-lockouts lobby group Keep Sydney Open, Tyson Koh told Music Feeds. “It’s not my desire to see the casinos restricted, but the idea of these casinos being the only sanctioned night-life option in Sydney is, quite frankly, an insult.”
Even though the Star Casino continues to negate any wrong doing, the numbers don’t lie. In 2015 the all night venue averaged 13 assaults a month, making it the most violent venue in Sydney. These figures show that the casino has three times the amount of violence of the central Sydney nighclub Ivy. This is shocking news to bar owners, since Ivy is demonize as the most violent venue in the city. In 2014, the government used the relatively low level of violence at the club to push outrageous lockout laws. With these laws Sydney’s night life decimates & countless people lose their jobs.
Studies show that the Star is undoubtedly a source of late-night problems. Half of the late-night assaults in Pyrmont occurred near the casino. Out of these figures, 71% of the victims were casino patrons, with more than 10% being taxi drivers. The BOCSAR study says that 30% of the assaults happen when the offender evicts from the Star Casino. According to police, alcohol drives 73% of the violence.
Despite being one of the main perpetrators of nightlife violence, the Star Casino manages to evade accountability. According to researchers, the casino has managed to sidestep the law way before the introduction of the lockout laws. While bars & clubs regularly lose their liquor licences for breaching “Three Strikes” rules, the Star Casino remains open. According to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA), the Star is fine for license breaches 12 times from 2013-2014. Remarkably, it has never been closed.
The hypocrisy of Australia’s archaic lockout laws is drawing sharp criticism from Sydney residents. In February over 15,000 people protested in central Sydney. They demanded that the government quit destroying their personal liberties in the guise of public security. The NSW Government is currently reviewing the affects of the lockout laws. While many hope that they will come to a reasonable conclusion, the future still looks grim for Sydney. It’s extremely suspicious that the government doesn’t feel the same urgency about shutting down the Star. Until this selective enforcement is stopped it will be impossible to believe that the government’s motives are as pure as they claim.
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