High-risk players were encouraged to gamble at Star, inquiry hears

Another public hearing into the Star Entertainment Group has begun.
Another public hearing into the Star Entertainment Group has begun.

Jonathan Horton QC has told the inquiry that people banned from other casinos were encouraged to travel to Queensland to gamble at Star.

Australia.- The inquiry to determine whether the Star Entertainment Group is suitable to continue holding a gaming licence in Queensland got underway today (August 23). Counsel assisting Jonathan Horton QC began proceedings saying that people with gambling-harm-related issues were encouraged to visit the Queensland casino.

Horton told the hearing: “There’s the issue of some persons being actively encouraged to come to Queensland and being given benefits to do so, even though — and this might be an understatement — red flags existed, which ought to have led to their exclusion, let alone not inducing the person to be here.”

The inquiry was also told that Chinese nationals were able to gamble using China UnionPay credit or debit cards, despite Chinese restrictions on currency movement. According to Horton, some AU$55m was transacted in Star Queensland casinos using the process. However, he noted the sum is lower than that detected in New South Wales.

Former judge The Honourable Robert Gotterson AO has been designated to lead Queensland’s review. He 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. 

In May, Naomi Sharp SC, counsel assisting the New South Wales inquiry into The Star Entertainment Group said that the company was not suitable to hold a casino licence in Sydney. She said the casino operator displayed unethical behaviour within its legal team and engaged in dubious practices. Despite the resignation of several executives, she said the casino should not have a licence.

The public hearings into The Star Sydney will continue until August 31.

Star Entertainment posts gross revenue of AU$1.53m for FY22

The Star Entertainment Group has shared financial results for its fiscal year. It’s reported statutory EBITDA of AU$239m and a statutory net loss of AU$199m. Gross revenue was down 2 per cent year-on-year to AU$1.53m.

Regulatory reviews as well as Covid-19-related property closures, operating restrictions, and border closures materially impacted earnings, the casino operator said. Star Sydney posted gross revenue of AU$781m for the fiscal year 2022. Earnings were significantly impacted by the closure of the property for 102 days, operating restrictions and other Covid-19-related impacts.

The Gold Coast venue reported gross revenue of AU$424m for the fiscal year, and Star Brisbane reported gross revenue of AU$326m.

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GAMBLING REGULATION The Star Entertainment Group