Star ‘unfit’ to hold a casino license



Star Entertainment’s Sydney gambling hall is not fit to hold a casino license as the gambling giant is only at the start of its journey to address business failures, an inquest has heard.

The NSW gaming regulator’s investigation has looked into allegations that ASX-listed Star allowed suspected money laundering, organized crime, fraud and foreign interference to Star Sydney in connection of the assessment if the site should retain its casino license.

The 36-day inquest was told that notorious gang-linked junket Suncity operated an illegal cage at the casino, that the site flouted rules on the use of Chinese debit cards on which $900 million had been compromised, and that Star staff lied to banks and did not do enough in dealing with regulators.

There was evidence that Star had worked covertly to prevent the public hearings from taking place.

“We submit that the evidence from the public hearing establishes that The Star is not fit to hold the casino license and that its close associate Star Entertainment is also not fit,” assistant attorney Naomi said on Tuesday. Sharp SC in its concluding observations.

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Ms Sharp said Star and its Sydney casino were only at the start of their journey “about what was wrong with these organisations”.

“There has not yet been the period of careful reflection that of course will be necessary to come up with a concrete plan on what … can bring these companies into a suitable position,” she said.

She urged Adam Bell SC, who is leading the investigation, to take the approach set out in Finkelstein’s review of rival Crown Resorts that if “most standards” are breached, “a company’s travel comes at a price.” its end”.

Ms Sharp SC outlined 26 areas she would address in her final argument, describing The Star Sydney casino license as a privilege that gave the site the opportunity to earn “very substantial revenue”.

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“In return for this privilege, the casino operator is given a number of very important responsibilities,” she said.

Ms Sharp said there was a lack of oversight in Star’s international VIP team, led by John Chong and then Marcus Lim, with ‘certain shortcomings’ existing on high-value clients and failures to brief the board Directors of Star.

The investigation has already been told that a Chinese-born high roller about whom The Star Sydney harbored potential money laundering concerns has made over $2 billion from the site. There were also testimonies of Star staff providing false source of funds documents to the Bank of China in Macao.

Star’s legal team has also come under criticism, with Ms Sharp pointing to its use of legal privilege and describing some of Star’s legal practices as unethical and “concerning”.

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On risk management, Ms Sharp described Star’s framework as containing “very serious” flaws, saying risks were either not identified or not escalated.

These failures occurred in the international VIP team and within the Star Sydney, including in its Salon 95 and the possible underpayment of green fees by the venue.

Responsibility for risk gaps rests with the casinos’ internal divisions, senior management and the board, she said.

Other matters to be covered at the closing include witness credit and a review to determine whether Star has not paid enough NSW green fees.

There has been a cleanup of senior Star brass since the investigation began, including chief executive Matt Bekier, chief financial officer Harry Theodore, casino manager Greg Hawkins, chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin and the Chairman of the Board John O’Neill.

The investigation continues on Tuesday.



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