Australia’s Star Entertainment Allegedly Involved in Disturbing Practice

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Bells are about to ring in Australia, and not for a good cause. After the fallout from the investigation into Crown Resorts, which revealed extensive money laundering and other failings, Star Entertainment Group became a target. New South Wales (NSW) is going to open the casino operator’s past in a so-called Bell Inquiry, and the results may be as damning for the Star as was the Crown investigation.

Star Entertainment in the Spotlight

Now that Crown’s time in the hot seat in NSW has come and gone, leading to the company having its casino license suspended, the Star is next. The Crown investigation uncovered possible signs of similar wrongdoings at its rival company, and NSW’s Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) wants to take a closer look.

One issue, if confirmed, could prove especially troubling. The Star has been accused of encouraging local gamblers falsely to claim they are outside New South Wales in order to lower the state’s gaming tax.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the allegations were made by two whistleblowers from The Star Sydney casino who were directly involved with the practice.

The staff would encourage gamblers to apply for documentation in order to appear that they are located outside NSW, either overseas or in another state. In return, they would be eligible to receive lucrative rewards and rebate programs.

The gaming tax rate for the Star is 10% on revenue generated by VIP players outside of the state, while it pays twice as much to gamblers from within the state.

Star Denies Wrongdoing

The Star has denied any wrongdoing. However, if it is, in fact, guilty, it has to know that the truth will come out during the Bell Inquiry, so named for being led by Adam Bell, SC. The investigation into Crown proved that nothing can be hidden forever.

The Star answered questions from the Herald this week when it was asked about the allegations. The company stated, “The Star runs a rebate program where the eligibility of domestic and international players is determined by criteria known to the regulator. The Star operates in a highly regulated environment.”

Last year, The Star stated that it was working with law enforcement and regulators to address “misleading media reports.” Those reports were provided from leaked audits of the company’s books, which allegedly showed anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing failings.

The media outlet tried to get more information out of the ILGA. It was told that it couldn’t comment due to the ongoing review.

The Bell Inquiry will add the alleged practice and the person(s) involved to its list of topics to be investigated starting next month.

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