Star Entertainment Group has been found unfit to obtain a casino license in Queensland.
- Independent review produced 12 recommendations
- The attorney general said the report highlighted “serious mistakes” and made very serious findings that adversely affected the star’s character, integrity and honesty.
- Starr says it is reviewing the report and will continue to work with regulators
Attorney General Shannon Fentiman announced the findings of the investigation, saying the state’s casino regulator will issue a notice to the company outlining why it should continue to operate casinos in Queensland.
The announcement follows the announcement of an independent review by former Court of Appeals Judge Robert Gotterson to amend Queensland’s casino laws as a priority and appoint a special administrator to increase oversight and integrity of the casinos. Made 12 recommendations, including making appointments available. operation.
Fentyman said the report highlighted “serious mistakes” and made very serious findings that had a negative impact on the star’s character, integrity and honesty.
“Mr Gotterson found that Starr was not forthright and lacking transparency in his dealings with banks and regulators, and his actions showed a one-eyed focus on profit.
Star Entertainment Group, which currently operates two casinos in Queensland (Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane), has obtained a Brisbane license to launch the $3.6 billion Queens Wharf casino development in Brisbane’s CBD next year. Hand over when open.
The research explored Starr’s Queensland operations, compliance with anti-money laundering responsibilities, junket operations and relationships with VIP patrons and high rollers.
State casino regulators are investigating organized crime ties linked to key backers of the Queens Wharf casino after ABC’s revelation in August.
Fentimann, who has ordered a new investigation by the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Regulation (OLGR) into Chow Tai Fook’s suitability as a major shareholder of Star and Queens Wharf, told ABC that the findings will be made public.
In the report, Justice Gotterson wrote that the Attorney General “brought to my attention allegations made in connection with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE), published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation … I referred to the allegations that I did,” he said. Known Organized Crime Persona”.
He said Fentimann “as a shareholder and close associate of Starr requested that the allegations against the CTFE be considered”, but that it “has no compulsion” to investigate Starr’s suitability as part of the review. He said.
Hearings also discouraged high-risk gamblers from traveling to Queensland to gamble at Starr’s casinos, even though “red flags” had been set off and gambling at casinos in other states was prohibited. It became clear that they were “positively encouraged” and even encouraged.
It also revealed that Star disguised $55 million as hotel charges and allowed the use of Chinese UnionPay debit or credit card payments.
“They made a concerted effort to obscure the purpose of these transactions and deliberately mislead regulators and bankers,” Fentyman said.
In principle, the state government accepted all of Mr. Gotterson’s recommendations.
“We are reviewing the report and the issues raised by Mr. Gotterson, and will continue to work with OLGR,” Star Entertainment said in a statement to ASX.
An independent review by Ms Fentyman in June this year, after a Bell investigation hearing in New South Wales aired allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal intrusion at Sydney’s Star Casino. Announced.
Recommendations to reduce the harm of gambling
The recommendations also include the establishment of regular checks on the suitability of all Queensland casinos, similar to New South Wales law, the costs of which will be paid by casino operators.
Gotterson also recommended ameliorating the harms of gambling, including compulsory card play and restrictions on cash transactions.
Fentiman said the recommendations would also include cashless gaming at Queensland casinos.
“The recommendations ensure that Queensland casinos operate legally and transparently.
Mr Gotterson, who handed over his report with the Attorney General, considered evidence from Queensland hearings, Bell’s investigation in New South Wales and a preliminary report from the state’s casino regulator. He said he was able to advise the state government after it determined it might find Star unfit to hold a license.
He said he found casino operators often did not provide information, even though the state’s casino regulator, the Liquor and Gambling Administration, pursued issues related to stars.
“What I have seen and the preliminary investigative reports that have been made show caution on the part of regulators to pursue a proper investigation,” he said.
“The report also showed Starr’s disinterest in fully describing the factual situation or, worse, misrepresenting it.”
Stars must prove they are fit to hold their license
Show cause notice was set in place to demonstrate the suitability of Star Entertainment to continue to hold a casino license in Queensland.
Star Entertainment will then respond within 21 days.
Fentimann said there are various actions the state government can take after that.
“It can range from directives to denunciations, fines, suspension or revocation of casino licenses,” she said.
“If a star is unfit to hold a license, the government looks to someone else to hold the license.
“Very wise recommendations from Mr Gotterson have allowed us to put a special manager in place.
“That’s what we’ve seen in Victoria, and we still don’t know the outcome in New South Wales after Bell’s investigation. Western Australia has also announced that the government will be asking the government to ensure it can continue to keep its casinos open. has passed a law allowing a special administrator to place a license.”
The state government will also raise the maximum fine that can be imposed on casinos to $100 million.
Star Jeff Hogg’s acting chief executive stepped down last month after Bell’s report found the company unfit to hold a casino license in Sydney.