Star deemed unsuitable to hold casino licence in QLD

Star deemed unsuitable to hold casino licence in QLD

A review by the Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman has found Star Entertainment Group unsuitable to hold a licence in Queensland.

The call was based on the independent external review of the casino’s operations in Queensland by The Honourable Robert Gotterson AO, and the findings in the Bell Review in NSW, and made public by the Queensland Government yesterday.

Fentiman said the company will be issued with a show cause notice as to why it should continue operating in Queensland by the state’s casino regulator.

This followed Gotterson undergoing a review where he made 12 recommendations, among those being that casino laws in Queensland be amended to include the provision of a special manager to increase supervision and uphold the integrity of casino operations.

The report highlighted “major failings” by Star and the findings severely impacted its character, integrity and honesty, per Fentiman.

“Mr Gotterson found Star was not forthcoming or transparent in its dealings with its banker or the regulator and its actions were indicative of a one-eyed focus on profit,” she said.

In Queensland, Star Entertainment Group currently holds two casinos – The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane – with the Brisbane spot planning to transfer to the $3.6 billion Queen’s wharf casino development in Brisbane’s CBD once it opens next year.

Star’s operations in Queensland, junket operations, its compliance with anti-money laundering responsibilities, and its relationship with VIP patrons and high rollers were all looked into with the inquiry. The state casino regulator is still investigating organised crime links to some major backers of the Queens Wharf casino.

Some revelations from the hearings included that high-risk gamblers were “actively encouraged” and even incentivised to gamble at Star casinos in Queensland and that Star allowed $55 million to be disguised as hotel expenses to be gambled using China UnionPay payments.

“They made a concerted effort to obscure the purpose of these transactions and deliberately mislead the regulator and their own banker,” Fentiman said.

The QLD Government has accepted all of Gotterson’s recommendations in principle, according to the ABC.

Star Entertainment said it was “considering the report and the matters raised by Mr Gotterson and will continue to work cooperatively with OLGR”.

Fentiman announced the review in June this year after hearings in New South Wales from the Bell inquiry made allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal infiltration at Star casino in Sydney.

Featured Image: Star Entertainment’s $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf development in Brisbane (Supplied: Destination Brisbane Consortium)

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