Star ‘not suitable’ for casino license


Gambling giant Star Entertainment’s playing venue in Sydney is not suitable to hold a casino licence, lawyers assisting a royal commission-style investigation say.

“We argue that evidence at the public hearing shows that The Star is not fit to own the casino license and that its close associate Star Entertainment is also not fit,” counsel assisting Naomi Sharp SC said Tuesday.

As a final argument, Ms Sharp told the NSW gaming regulator inquiry that Star and his Sydney casino were only at the beginning of their journey “about what has gone wrong within these organisations”.

“There has not yet been a period of deep reflection which will of course be necessary to develop a concrete plan on what … can put these companies in a suitable position,” she said.

The high-profile investigation has examined claims that Star, who is on the ASX list, may have facilitated money laundering, organized crime, fraud and foreign interference at The Star Sydney, as part of its assessment of whether the venue should keep its casino license. .

The investigation was told that a notorious gang-related junkie was operating an illegal cage at the casino, the venue was violating rules about the use of Chinese debit cards, and casino staff lied to banks and did not do enough when dealing with regulators.

There is some evidence that Star has been working covertly to stop the public hearings.

Also on Tuesday, Ms Sharp SC outlined 26 areas she would cover in closing arguments, describing The Star Sydney’s casino license as a privilege that granted the venue the opportunity to earn “very substantial income”.

“In exchange for that privilege, the casino operator is given some very important responsibilities,” said Ms. Sharp.

Among the closing submissions, Ms Sharp said she would provide a briefing given by Star’s management to the board of directors in the wake of media allegations in 2019.

“It will be our input that these performances were quite misleading,” she said.

She would also argue that there was a lack of oversight in the casino’s international VIP team and that there were “certain shortcomings” in high-value customers.

Other topics discussed at closing included the casino’s eligibility to retain its license, the site’s risk management framework, witness honors and an investigation into whether Star has underfunded its gaming obligations to the state government. paid.

In the wake of the investigation, there has been a clean-out of Star’s top brass, including chief executive Matt Bekier, chief financial officer Harry Theodore, chief casino officer Greg Hawkins, chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin and board chairman John O’Neill.

The Star investigation follows a review of its rival Crown Resorts, which ultimately found that casino unfit to be licensed in NSW.

The investigation continues on Tuesday.


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