Current executive chairman Ben Heap will return to his non-executive role upon Cooke’s appointment.
Australia.- The Star Entertainment Group has announced through a company filing that Robert Cooke will commence in his role as managing director and chief executive officer on Monday, October 17, 2022. Ben Heap, the current executive chairman, will return to a non-executive role.
Cooke’s appointment was announced on June 29, following an extensive search. His appointment has received regulatory approval in Queensland, with New South Wales still pending.
Cooke is currently managing director of Tyro Payments, an Australian fintech providing merchant credit and EFTPOS services, which Cooke successfully led to IPO in 2019. He was previously managing director of Wotif.com from 2006 to 2013, where he oversaw several acquisitions and led the business to an ASX listing in 2006.
Queensland deems the Star unsuitable to hold a casino licence
Queensland’s review of The Star Entertainment Group has found the casino operator to be unsuitable to continue holding a casino licence in the state. Robert Gotterson AO KC reached an open finding in his report but Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman says the operator is unfit to run its Queensland venues.
Some of the findings are similar to those of Adam Bell SC’s inquiry in New South Wales. Gotterson says the casino operator encouraged people excluded on the direction of police commissioners in New South Wales and Victoria to gamble at its Queensland casinos.
The report stated: “The two Star casinos presently carrying on business in Queensland (Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane) have been operated in a way that is inconsistent with the achievement of the objectives of the Casino Control Act 1982 (Qld).”
The report adds: “This shows a poor corporate culture, a failure of those responsible for the AML/CTF Program to intervene, and a senior management that failed to have in place mechanisms to restrain the actions of a marketing team whose focus was on drawing in business.”
The Star Entertainment Group has issued a statement saying it is considering the report and will continue to cooperate with the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR).