The Star Entertainment

Star Entertainment assures support for the Victorian government’s major gambling reforms as parliament slates A$100 million fines for casino misconduct. 

Responding to the media release issued by the Minister of Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson, stating that casinos face $100 million fines for misconduct under new reforms, Star Entertainment Group Ltd said to review the details of the proposed reforms and the potential implications for its operations.

The new NSW (New South Wales) Independent Casino Commission (NICC) will have powers to fine operators up to $100 million and hold individual board members and executives liable for serious wrongdoing, under legislation to be introduced in the Australian Parliament next week, the press release issued by Anderson read.

Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said the NICC will be given new powers to investigate wrongdoing and enforce compliance with tough new controls targeting money laundering and other criminal activity.

“Reforms to be introduced to Parliament next week deliver on all 19 recommendations of the Bergin Inquiry and introduce additional measures to strengthen casinos’ compliance requirements, including some key recommendations from the Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Resorts,” Mr. Anderson said.

The Star Entertainment release also confirmed that the company has previously indicated its support for the recommendations of the Bergin Inquiry.

In 2021 several media reports found that Star management had been warned by the regulatory authorities regarding inadequate anti-money laundering controls and the group’s Sydney Casino was found unfit to operate.

Going forward 

As per the new reforms, Star Entertainment will have to allow regular reviews of casino licenses to be conducted as public inquiries with Royal Commission-like powers.

Star Entertainment Group will be compelled to provide full and frank disclosure of requested information and notify the NICC of any breach or likely breach of the law.

The company will have to appoint independent compliance auditors who will report to NICC on casino operators’ compliance with their regulatory obligations.

Star Entertainment will have to phase out cash transactions of more than $1,000 per patron per day with the introduction of cashless gaming at casinos, which shall mandate transition to the carded play which will require gamblers to use cards which will identify them and track their play, to assist with financial crime monitoring and prevention.

Star Entertainment will have to adhere to the new requirement for applicants who want to become close associates of a casino to demonstrate they are suitable for business operations.

The company will have to comply with the increased scope for probity assessments of a casino operator’s related entities within the same group, such as its holding company.

The company operating Casinos will be required to give regulators continuous access to gaming data, as pubs and clubs have done for many years.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW’s regulatory responsibilities and operational functions will be expanded to support the operation of the NICC and implementation of the casino reforms,” the press release issued by Anderson read.

The controversy

In 2021 several media reports found that Star management had been warned by the regulatory authorities regarding inadequate anti-money laundering controls.

Between 2014 and 2021 Star had attempted to recruit such operators who were allegedly linked to criminal or foreign-influence activities.

In response to the media reports Star stated that it was concerned by a number of assertions within the media reports that it considers misleading and had assured that it would take steps to address the allegations with Australian authorities.

Following the report shareholders began forming a class action lawsuit against Star and inquiries were launched by Queensland’s, Western Australia’s, Victoria’s, and New South Wales’s state gaming regulators.

A Public inquiry had found Star Entertainment Group as “not suitable” to hold a license for its Sydney casino, following which several top executives had resigned over the course of an ongoing inquiry which heard allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal infiltration, at the casino.

In late March 2022 CEO and Managing Director Matt Bekier also resigned from the Star Board, claiming he wanted to take the responsibility for the misconduct uncovered at the inquiry.