Star Sydney’s licence once again at risk after regulator launches second inquiry

The Star Entertainment Group runs the risk of losing its Sydney casino license as the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) has ordered another inquiry into the property.

This second inquiry comes one and a half years after Adam Bell SC, the barrister who lead an inquiry into Star’s Sydney casino, outlined the property’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism failings in his 900 page report.

NICC chief commissioner, Philip Crawford, felt that the casino has not demonstrated its ability to regain its casino license in the 18 months since the original report was handed down.

“When the manager was extended for the second time in December last year, the NICC was not satisfied The Star was progressing its remediation in a timely fashion,” Crawford said.

“The NICC has had concerns about the extent that remediation is attributable to the manager’s oversight and direction versus what is being driven by The Star’s reform agenda.

“Bell Two will bring us back to the Bell report and The Star’s efforts to regain its casino licence in the shadow of that report.”

Bell’s original report described the Star’s operations as “a case study of unethical conduct and cultural failure,” adding that the casino may have evaded taxes and enabled $900 million of banned gambling transactions.

Since the report, Star has replaced all of its board and the majority of its leadership. Despite this, Crawford is still not convinced that things have changed.

“We do not take this decision lightly, but I’m not yet sure they have addressed the cultural reform Bell identified in his first report,” Crawford said. “Cultural change does take time but you’ve got to be on the right track to start with, otherwise you’re just embedding the bad culture.”

Star halted trading yesterday and dropped 23 per cent between the end of trading on Friday and opening today. The company’s share price has fallen over 80 per cent since the original report was given in late 2022.

The new inquiry’s report is due to be handed down by 31 May.

Latest News