Revelations that executives at The Star Sydney were aware of practices that disguised gambling expenses, and even facilitated its continuance may see “heads roll” on a board level in a similar fashion to Crown Resorts in recent years.
Speaking to WA Today, Center for Public Integrity director Geoffrey Watson, SC said that The Star had acted “very deliberately” and repeatedly to facilitate the transactions, calling the company’s suitability to hold a license into doubt.
“Casinos… have got to run at the highest level of probity. There are sure signs now that the company was not doing that,” said Watson, a former counsel assisting the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“What happened yesterday means this company needs to explain why it wasn’t facilitating serious crime.”
Watson believes that the company will be forced to change out its management team as Crown did following their royal commission inquiries that found them unsuitable for a license in Victoria and NSW.
“It’s too endemic – they’ll have to just start again,” he said.
A fund manager at a major Australian investment fund told WA Today that based on the evidence presented, it is inevitable that senior executives would be told to leave the company.
“There will be a fall-out but how deep it is, who knows?” said the fund manager.
“The CEO [Matt Bekier] has been there for a long time, and he’s probably getting towards the end of tenure anyway. [Chairman] John O’Neil is an interesting one, because he was spruiking how The Star was squeaky clean.
“But it’s day one… what’s going to come out on day three or five?”