Geoff Hogg, the Star Entertainment Group’s acting chief executive officer, has begun giving testimony to Queenland’s inquiry into the casino operator’s suitability.
Australia.- The Queensland government’s independent external review into the Star Entertainment Group’s suitability to hold casino licences in Queensland has started to hear testimony of the company’s acting CEO, Geoff Hogg. He’s told the inquiry that the Star had been responsible for some minor breaches since 2017.
However, Hogg added that most of these breaches were incidents such as excluding customers or staff errors at the table. He said he had “no knowledge” of the casino operator paying fines for breaching Queensland law over the past five years.
Hogg said: “Certainly, we’ve obviously focused on remediation steps that we can do when we have any breaches or anything that occurs, and it’s been a focus for us. I’m not aware of any fines.”
In May, authorities announced legislative changes to Queensland’s casino regulatory framework to introduce tougher gambling laws, heavier penalties and more measures to minimise gambling harms. According to the new laws, casino operators could face penalties of up to AU$50m in the case of misconduct.
Attorney-general and minister for justice Shannon Fentiman said the reforms will be in place before the opening of the new casino at Queen’s Wharf to be operated by The Star.
During the inquiry, Hogg revealed that the government told the Star about the proposed changes in legislation and asked them for feedback before going to parliament. He said the Star had not commented on the proposed new fines or the size of the fines.
The chief executive said he believed the government would consult all Queensland casino operators on the bill beforehand.
Hogg stated: “We had a notification that was considerations, I suppose of key themes and messages around it for which we got to respond. At that stage, we hadn’t seen the bill itself for its drafting, but we have given feedback and support to most of the changes.”
Hogg was asked if he was sure activities and concerns raised in the NSW inquiry into the Star had not occurred in Queensland. He answered the company has been working to improve its policies over the last three or four years.
He added: “Once we realised there were some gaps in what we’re doing that would apply in both areas, and committed to fixing those and addressing those which we’ve done over the last four years.”
Former judge The Honourable Robert Gotterson AO is leading the review into The Star Entertainment Group. It will report to the attorney general, minister for justice, minister for women and minister for the prevention of domestic and family violence by September 30.
The future of the Queen’s Wharf integrated resort in Brisbane will depend on what happens in the review. According to analysts, if The Star is deemed unsuitable to continue holding a casino licence, it is unlikely to go ahead with the development of the complex.