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Senators concerned about casino regulations

Published:Monday | November 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Johnson Smith

Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson Smith has expressed discomfort with aspects of the casino gaming regulations, saying it has significant defects.

"The regulations don't seem to recognise that a partnership is not only made up of individuals, but under our laws, and under the laws of other jurisdictions, that partnership may be made up of one or more corporate entities," Johnson Smith argued.

She added that because of matters of corporate law, "one cannot look behind the corporate veil unless there are prescribed circumstances under the law".

"We must be able to ensure that the applicants have the appropriate level of scrutiny. How these are currently set out, an applicant could be a partnership made up of two companies and could avoid the relevant or intended scrutiny," Johnson Smith said.

The regulations state that if the applicant is a company or a partnership, a copy of each of the organisational documents of the applicant certified by the supervisory or regulatory body with which the original is lodged must be submitted.

It says that if the applicant is a company or partnership, a certificate of incorporation, a copy of the certificate of incorporation certified to be a true copy, as well as a good standing or equivalent document from the supervisory or regulatory body of the company is to be submitted in the application.

Johnson Smith argued that one section of the regulations incorrectly refers to partnerships as they do not have these kinds of documents.

In the meantime, the senator said the regulations which speak to applications being submitted on CD are closing the door on new technology. She said the regulations should seek to be technology neutral.

Expressed unease

Similarly, government Senator Lambert Brown, while supporting the regulations, expressed unease about a portfolio minister being given the power to waive the requirement for any information and document specified in the schedule.

"I don't believe it is a good governance principle, and any such waiver should come back to the Parliament," Brown said.

But Leader of Government Business A.J. Nicholson said the Senate does not have the power to amend regulations. He said the technical persons in the Ministry of Finance have been told to take copious notes and to refer to the Hansard record of Parliament. He has instructed that the technocrats report to the Senate in two weeks on whether the points raised by the senators merit being included in the regulations.

Nicholson said he, too, had concerns about the regulations, but he did not reveal them.