Assaults rise at Sydney’s Star casino after lockout laws

The Star casino precinct is one of central Sydney’s hot spots for violence with new statistics showing a slight rise in the number of assaults in the area.

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Pyrmont is also the only central city suburb to have an increase in assaults since the state government introduced its controversial lockout laws.

The Star is not subject to the restrictions introduced in 2014, which ban patrons entering pubs and clubs in Kings Cross and the CBD after 1.30am and stop bars serving drinks after 3am.

Since then, the number of non-domestic assaults in the Pyrmont area has increased to average almost 13 assaults (12.83) per month, a report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics (BOCSAR) has found.

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This amounts to about two additional assaults a month in the area.

BOCSAR director Don Weatherburn said the increase was far less than the reduction in violence recorded at Kings Cross and the CBD.

“The increase that’s happened is nowhere near as big as the decrease that’s happened at Kings Cross and the CBD,” Dr Weatherburn said on Wednesday.

“But there’s no doubt there has been a significant increase” at The Star and its surrounds in Pyrmont, he said.

The bureau did not find a similar increase in assaults in other popular nightlife areas exempt from the state’s lockout laws – such as Newtown, Bondi or Double Bay.

“This is the only one so far we can see an increase in,” Dr Weatherburn said.

Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said he was pleased to see that claims the divisive legislation would push nightlife violence to other parts of Sydney were unfounded.

“There were lots of advocates out there saying the lockout laws would create mayhem and chaos in the surrounding areas but the statistics have not borne (that) out,” he said.

The Star continues to take issue with BOCSAR’s statistics, saying its own monthly reviews show there was a reduction in assault numbers at the casino from 2014 and 2015.

“Statistically there is one incident at The Star for every 211,000 visitors,” a spokesman told AAP.

“The Star believes one incident is one too many but we continue to work closely with the casino regulator and the NSW Police to review and minimise anti-social behaviour,” he said.

The research comes as a state government review into the lockout laws considers whether further restrictions should be placed on venues such as The Star.

The inquiry, led by former High Court judge Ian Callinan, is due to report later this year.

Number of non-domestic assaults around Sydney

* Sydney CBD

2014: 1553

2015: 1545

* Kings Cross

2014: 298

2015: 206

* Pyrmont

2014: 142

2015: 154

Source: NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research