April 24, 2024 3 min read

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Former Star CEO Cooke Addresses Sydney Casino License Inquiry

Robbie Cooke gave a lengthy testimony speaking about a number of important topics on Wednesday in light of the second inquiry into The Star Sydney's casino license

The second inquiry into license suitability for The Star Sydney, one of the properties of the leading Australian casino entertainment company, Star Entertainment Group, is currently ongoing. The inquiry into The Star Sydney followed a massive probe into the company’s operations that uncovered a range of deficiencies.

As the discussions about The Star Sydney’s license suitability continue, damning text messages uncovering an alleged plot of Star against the gambling regulator in NSW and The Star Sydney’s special manager, Nicholas Weeks, emerged earlier this month. Amid the ongoing regulatory hiccups, Star confirmed changes to its leadership back in mid-March. At the time, the company revealed that its CEO, Robbie Cooke, would step down from his role.

In the latest chapter of the regulatory saga, the former CEO gave a lengthy testimony on Wednesday, addressing a number of recently discussed issues, a report released by IAG reveals. During the testimony, Cooke spoke about a report from Weeks to which the company responded with a number of concerns, raising eyebrows about the effectiveness of the collaboration between the company and the gambling regulator in NSW.

Although Star previously confirmed that it continues to collaborate with the regulator to address a number of issues for The Star Sydney, in that particular report, the company disagreed with a number of proposals. Speaking about the report in question, Cooke acknowledged the difficulties related to communications with regulators in particular, comparing the process to a “one way street.”

The Former Star Exec Addressed a Number of Hot Topics

According to Cooke, the response submitted by Star was respectful. Still, he acknowledged that it was difficult to stand in opposition to the regulator. Cooke explained: “I did try to write the response and the covering letter in a way which indicated we were doing it respectfully and trying to ensure that where there were matters that we didn’t agree with or that were contentious, that we did so in a clinical way rather than an emotive way. But it was a difficult position for the company because we were taking a contrary position to the manager and some of his views of the company.”

Another important topic discussed at the latest testimony involved the messages exchanged between Cooke and the company’s chairman, David Foster. In the messages, Cooke allegedly discussed with Foster the possibility of waging “war” against the NSW gambling regulator and Weeks.

Addressing the communication in question, Cooke said that they were sent during a time when the duo was on “high alert” and only represent a “moment in time.” The former Star executive said: “We were getting ready for what might have been coming. This is a text about something we had just been alerted to involving three law firms and our NSW license.”

The former CEO reiterated that he was on high alert at the time. When asked what the ultimate plan was in seeking legal advice from a law firm for a lawsuit against the regulator, the executive responded that he didn’t think it was a good idea. Moreover, Cooke said that he doesn’t recall discussing the matter with a legal firm at all.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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