“The report is, quite frankly, shocking. It provides evidence of an extensive compliance breakdown in key areas of The Star’s business,” NSW Independent Casino Commission chief commissioner Philip Crawford said.
“Not only were huge amounts of money disguised by the casino as hotel expenses, but vast sums of cash evaded anti-money laundering protocols in numerous situations, most alarmingly through Salon 95 – the secret room with a second cash cage.”
Crawford said appropriate disciplinary action will be determined after The Star responds to the findings.
“In addition to Bell’s analysis of the very real risks of criminal infiltration and the concealment with which senior staff conducted business, the report details cases of individual patrons exposed to gambling harms,” he said.
“Once we have given The Star the opportunity to respond to the notice, we will be in a position to determine an appropriate disciplinary approach.”
Crawford noted that the NSW Government’s recent reforms have enhanced the regulation needed to act on Bell’s report which gives the NICC the power to strip The Star of its licence, suspend it, monetary penalties, as well as the appointment of a manager.
“The NICC has all the tools it needs at its disposal to respond to Bell’s recommendations, and we will develop an approach that is proportionate to the seriousness of the report.”
The Star is undergoing a similar review in Queensland to assess its suitability to continue holding its licences in that state where it runs three casinos.
Crown Resorts was found unsuitable to hold any of its casino licences after a series of inquiries in NSW, Victoria and WA, but has continued operating following a significant overhaul of its management and culture that was praised by ILGA. Its Sydney casino commenced operations last month under a probationary licence.
In June, The Star announced Tyro Payments boss Robbie Cooke would be its next chief executive. Cooke finishes up at Tyro in December and his appointment at The Star is still subject to regulatory approval.
More to come
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