The NSW government is facing more pressure over their decision to excuse Sydney’s Star Casino from the city’s lockout laws after data has been released showing a “statistically significant” rise in assaults around the venue. The area has now been identified as a “hot spot” for assaults.
As reported by News Limited, data from the NSW Government’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) found that overall rates of assault in suburbs next to the lockout zone, such as Surry Hills, had not seen a significant change in assaults levels, except for Pyrmont, whose trend of rising assaults has continued.
“There is a statistically significantly upward trend but how much of that is due to the lockouts or is a pre-existing trend is hard to say,” said BOSCAR’s Dr Don Weatherburn.
“Most of the assaults, but not by any means all, in Pyrmont are concentrated in the area near the casino.”
The Star’s exemption has been a hot political issue for a greater reason than perceived favouritism. The casino, along with many others, makes political donations that are well-funded, of course, by the gambling industry. This has earned NSW premier Mike Baird the moniker ‘Casino Mike,’ along with some heavy criticism.
Sydney Law School criminology Professor Murray Lee, highlighted the public’s distain for the the Casino’s exclusion from the laws. “That the casino is exempted comes across as very unfair and unjust. It also creates a perception that the Government is soft on its mates in high places.”
“If The Star was counted as a single venue it would be by far the most violent venues in NSW according to assault data. It’s not really a good look.”
Star Casino has faced scrutiny for getting a free pass under NSW’s lockout laws in the past, and will be the subject of the Reclaim The Streets rally this weekend, which is expecting 10,000 people to march on the casino on Saturday.
A Reclaim the Streets spokesperson who will be taking to the streets this weekend has said, “There is a groundswell of opposition to #CasinoMike and his Government’s draconian lockout laws. You can’t even call Sydney a concrete jungle anymore because jungles have life in them. Now it’s just a concrete slab.”