Heap says Star Entertainment “working to respond” to NICC notice

The Star Entertainment was found unsuitable to hold a New South Wales casino licence.
The Star Entertainment was found unsuitable to hold a New South Wales casino licence.

Star Entertainment Groups’ interim chairman Ben Heap has issued a statement in response to Adam Bell SC’s report on The Star Sydney.

Australia.- Ben Heap, Star Entertainment Group’s interim chairman, has issued a statement attempting to offer some reassurance after the operator was found unsuitable to hold a casino licence in New South Wales.

Heap said he has been carefully considering the contents and findings of Adam Bell SC’s report and that the company acknowledges public criticism of its governance, behaviour and culture, including by the NSW Independent Casino Commission chief commissioner, Philip Crawford.

He said: “Over the coming days, we are working to respond to the notice from the NSW Independent Casino Commission as to why we should be able to continue to operate. 

“We are taking stock of our existing programs, the changes made to date, and planned initiatives. We recognise the seriousness of the matters raised by Mr Bell and Mr Crawford and are determined to address them and do so with urgency.”

Heap said the company is currently developing and will implement a comprehensive “renewal plan” to serve as a roadmap for improving its governance, culture and controls. 

He said: “We will not only fix the issues raised in the report but will examine and address their root causes. Given the extent and breadth of the issues raised, our Renewal Plan is a multi-year plan, to fully address and embed the fundamental changes required in all aspects of our business.

“Examples of actions we’ve taken to date include introducing more robust controls, enhancing our regulatory compliance functions and training, adding new members to our Board, rebuilding our senior leadership team, separating our Risk and Legal functions, hiring a new chief risk officer, and voluntarily appointing an Independent Monitor to oversee our progress.  

“We acknowledge there is much more to be done and we will do it working constructively and transparently with the NSW Independent Casino Commission, our other regulators, and our Independent Monitor.” 

The Star Entertainment has been given 14 days to respond to Adam Bell SC’s report. Dominic Perrottet, premier of New South Wales, has warned that if it fails to do so, it will probably be forced to close The Star Sydney.

The NICC reported that it is considering pursuing one or more of the following actions in relation to the Star’s casino licence:

  • the cancellation or suspension of the licence,
  • the imposition on the casino operator of a pecuniary penalty of up to $100m,
  • the amendment of the terms or conditions of the licence (other than under section 22),
  • a requirement that a casino operator, or a close associate of a casino operator, give an undertaking (an enforceable undertaking) to do or refrain from doing something,
  • the issue of a letter of censure to the casino operator.
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The Star Entertainment Group