Victoria Recruits Thorn as Lead Regulator

The government of Victoria, Australia has appointed former Department of Health Secretary Fran Thorn as the first head of the state’s new Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

Victoria Recruits Thorn as Lead Regulator

The government of Victoria, Australia has named former Department of Health Secretary Fran Thorn as chairwoman of the state’s new gaming regulator.

Starting January 1, she will be charged with establishing the new

Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), which replaces the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).

The decision to form a dedicated casino regulator followed a Royal Commission inquiry of Crown Melbourne. That probe found the operator unsuitable to retain its casino license but granted it two years in which to prove its suitability.

The change will allow the VGCCC to “focus solely on regulating casino and gambling operators and minimizing harm,” the government said, “with a dedicated casino division and commissioners focusing solely on the casino operator.”

Thorn, formerly Victoria’s top health bureaucrat, will bring “extensive experience” to the new regulator, having previously designed and delivered significant government service reforms and worked across government in policy, planning, funding and regulation, according to the announcement.

“Ms. Thorn possesses exemplary skills and experience that will be vital to ensuring the new casino and gambling regulator operates effectively and efficiently,” said Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne.

“We’ve acted swiftly to establish the VGCCC, appointing a new chair, finalizing governance arrangements and moving liquor regulation into the Department of Justice and Community Safety to ensure dedicated oversight of this important responsibility. The changes we are making will see a return to a model that is fit-for-purpose and has a specific and separate focus on liquor and gambling regulation.”

Crown Resorts was recently found unsuitable to hold a casino license in Victoria, but has been allowed to keep its license and operate for now while it “cleans up its act.” In a 652-page royal commission report, a total of 33 recommendations were given, all of which have been accepted by the Victorian government.

Aside from oversight from a new casino regulator, Crown Resorts will also be overseen by a special manager.

Thorn has been appointed for an initial three-year term.