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Star Entertainment Group Found Unfit To Operate Casino In Sydney

Posted on September 20, 2022 | 5:33 am

Star Entertainment Group, one of the biggest operators of land-based casinos in Australia, has received terrible news from the Independent Casino Commission of New South Wales as a report received by the government body found the operator unfit to hold a casino license in Sydney. 

The conclusion comes after an inquiry into the company’s activity after concerns were raised about the operator’s dealings with junkets and failings regarding money laundering prevention measures.

The investigation launched in September 2021 and it was led by Adam Bell SC. One year later, the investigation concluded with a report which states that The Star Sydney is culpable of several anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings stretching back years.

The report adds that the failings were the result of “ineffective risk management and governance”, along with a “dysfunctional” culture in relation to ethical conduct, mainly by prioritizing business goals over compliance objectives.

One of the main accusations regards the operator’s successful attempts to bypass Chinese capital flight laws by reclassifying gambling spend as hotel expenses on China Union Pay cards. Moreover, the company lied to banking institutions regarding these payments, allowed an entity with presumed links to organized crime to conduct operations inside The Star Sydney and also lied to the state regulator, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority. 

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Fourteen Days To Respond

The New South Wales Independent Casino Commission, which has recently taken charge as the regulator of gambling in Australia’s most populous state, announced that it has given The Star Entertainment two weeks to prepare a response to the report findings.

Philip Crawford, the Chief Commissioner of the Independent Casino Commission, released a statement in which he declared himself shocked at the findings of the report. The Chief Commissioner added that the report “provides evidence of an extensive compliance breakdown in key areas of The Star’s business.”

Crawford added that the Commission will decide on the disciplinary approach after having received the appropriate response from the operator. According to current laws in New South Wales, the Independent Casino Commission could revoke the license for The Star Sydney or suspend it, along with monetary penalties for the operator or even the appointment of a manager to monitor the casino’s activities.

Ben Heap, the interim Chairman of The Star Entertainment Group, responded through a letter to the company’s shareholders in which he acknowledged the findings and recommendations. “We also acknowledge the public criticism of our governance, behaviors and culture, including by the NSW Independent Casino Commission chief commissioner Philip Crawford,” the letter added.

SOURCE“Star Entertainment Group unfit to operate in Sydney“Asia Gaming Brief. September 14, 2022.

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