The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority of New South Wales, Australia confirmed that a public hearing in The Star Sydney’s conduct will commence on Thursday, March 17. The goal of these hearings will be to determine whether the casino meets the industry standards and thus, hold a license.
The Review Will Investigate the Casino’s Recent Operations
ILGA’s chair, Philip Crawford, stated that the review, which is conducted by Adam Bell SC, will determine whether the Star meets the standards to hold a license. So far, Bell’s review was kept in secrecy, but the regulator stated that it is time for matters to become public.
This comes shortly after The Star Sydney faced a lot of scrutiny for various illegal practices. Crawford stated that the review will investigate the casino’s operations and determine whether its practices were in compliance with the law. If not, the necessary remedial action will be taken.
Furthermore, he added that some of the areas that are covered by this review include money laundering and how well the casino is working to minimize gambling harm.
The review will be finished after the hearings are completed, while Bell’s deadline for handing over his findings is set for June.
The Star Sydney Was Accused of Heavy Criminal Activity
Just when people would think that Australian casinos learned their lesson after all the drama with Crown Resorts, The Star Sydney caught itself in massive controversy, even though Star Entertainment portrayed itself as the total opposite of Crown.
An investigation conducted by Age, Sydney Morning Herald, and 60 Minutes reported that in the period between 2014 and 2021, Star allowed high-rollers that were associated with various criminal activities to gambling at its property and ignored all red flags.
Some of the criminals included a cocaine importer from Sydney, a drug trafficker and money launderer from Canberra, as well as the biggest tax cheats in the country and the biggest accused foreign-interference agent.
KPMG, a global audit firm, was commissioned by Star in 2018 and the goal was to provide reports on the casino’s operations. These operations found out numerous discrepancies and outlined that the Sydney and Queensland casinos failed to combat terrorism financing, corruption, and money laundering. Additionally, KPMG’s report stated that Star wasn’t vetting Chinese junket gamblers properly.
However, the operator ignored all the warnings and continue working even though it was walking on a thin line.
To make things even worse, a retrospective wage review uncovered that the company underpaid up to 2,200 current and former workers. Some of the earliest discrepancies of this type date back to 2016. As a result of the retrospective wage review, Star Entertainment Group had to pay over AU$13 million ($9.2 million) to staff that is working and/or used to work for the company.