May 23, 2024 3 min read


Star’s Suitability for Sydney Casino License in Doubt

Assisting counsel Caspar Conde found that the Australian gambling giant isn't fit to hold a license in Syndey, casting doubt on whether this will ever be possible

One of the largest gambling and entertainment operators in Australia, Star Entertainment, remains subject to regulatory scrutiny, amid the ongoing second investigation in New South Wales (NSW) into its operations. The inquiry is led by Adam Bell SC and seeks to determine whether the operator is suitable to hold a license for its Sydney casino.

The second independent inquiry follows another probe that analyzed the Star’s efforts related to cultural transformation, the implementation of effective controls and compliance. Ahead of the conclusion of the review of the company’s operations, a new submission deemed the Star unsuitable to hold a license even if operated by a special manager.

The Star entities’ contention that they are suitable with license conditions and the (special) manager contrasts with the unqualified acceptance by every director of Star Entertainment that Star Entertainment is presently unsuitable,

explained Caspar Conde, assisting counsel

As announced by the Australian Financial Review, the closing submissions came from assisting counsel Caspar Conde. The expert criticized the progress of the company, saying that there’s no sufficient evidence that signals the Star’s suitability to regain control of its casino license. What’s more concerning is that according to Conde, it is unlikely that the Australian gambling giant “will or is likely to become suitable.”

In terms of present suitability, our submission remains that you would conclude that the Star and Star Entertainment are not presently suitable regardless of any proposal in relation to license conditions or the manager,

added Conde

Inquiry Holds Hearings on a Number of Issues

The latest submission comes after in the last few months, several public hearings were organized, scrutinizing a number of suspected issues involving the Australian gambling operator. In April, the operator was accused of records falsification. At the time, Nicholas Weeks, who was appointed to the role of special manager for Star’s Sydney property, disclosed information collected from Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors which suggested a records mismatch related to responsible gambling practices.

A glitch affecting a number of machines that resulted in casino visitors cashing out more money than they were owed was also subject to intense regulatory scrutiny. The issue resulted in AU$3.2 million ($2.1 million) in losses for Star Sydney after it was present for two months back in 2023.

Again, in April, damning messages between David Foster, Star’s chair and Robbie Cooke, the company’s ex-CEO, emerged. The uncovered messages suggested the operator may be preparing for “war” against the NSW gambling regulator. Since then, Foster departed from his role as chairman. Speaking about the former chair, Conde said that Foster was “seen by his colleagues as a barrier to suitability.”

Bell’s inquiry into Star remains open through the end of July. Until then, he will have to determine the fate of the Star Sydney’s casino license.


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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