September 11, 2023 2 min read


The Star Sydney Brings Back Free Alcohol for High Rollers

While the practice was temporarily on hold in light of the Bell review, the Star Sydney has now resumed serving free alcohol only for VIP customers

Amid the Bell probe into The Star’s operations, the operator temporarily stopped serving free alcohol at the Star Sydney. The government inquiry uncovered that some gamblers received alcohol as an inducement which was only one of the issues flagged by the probe. Ultimately, the Bell Inquiry, which was published last year, found that the operator was not suitable for a casino license. Still, The Star was given a chance to remedy the situation and implement changes to its operations, seeking to ensure compliance and discontinuing bad practices.

Now, a new report suggests that the Star Sydney resumed serving free alcohol to high rollers. As announced by The Australian, the venue discussed the matter with the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC). The Commission revealed that the Star Sydney voluntarily stopped serving free alcohol to visitors in light of the release of the government inquiry. Yet, The Star asked the NICC on multiple occasions to resume serving alcohol and according to the latest report, the Commission didn’t object to that return but only under certain conditions.

While the Star Sydney resumed serving free alcohol for VIP patrons, the same practice won’t be allowed for the main gaming area. This is in fact in line with NICC’s view on the matter. “The Star voluntarily ceased the service of free liquor to patrons following the release of the Bell Report, but following numerous requests from The Star, the NICC has since not objected to the service of free liquor in certain circumstances,” explained the Commission.

Still, the NICC said that in the upcoming months, it will continue to monitor the matter closely. Finally, it reminded gambling operators to ensure compliance with the established rules.

The announcement comes after late last month, The Star released its FY23 financial results, posting a statutory net loss of AU$2.44 billion ($1.57 billion). At the time, the operator confirmed that it remains committed to strengthening its anti-money laundering and safer gambling policies. Further efforts toward ensuring compliance with the rules included the replacement of Board members as well.

Robbie Cooke, The Star’s group CEO and managing director, outlined that the last year was incredibly challenging for the company. Still, he highlighted the important changes to The Star’s policies that ultimately seek to protect the jobs of thousands of workers.


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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