Star compliance manager misled NSW gambling regulator about junkets

Stevens admitted the operator had little control over what happened in Salon 95.
Stevens admitted the operator had little control over what happened in Salon 95.

Graeme Stevens, group compliance manager at Star Entertainment Group, has admitted he misled the ILGA about junkets operating in a private high-roller room at Star Sydney.

Australia.- On a new day of the ILGA’s public hearing into the Star Entertainment Group, compliance manager Graeme Stevens has admitted he misled the New South Wales regulator, about how junkets operated in The Star Sydney Casino’s private VIP customer betting room. He also admitted the operator had little control over what happened in Salon 95.

The inquiry was told that in Salon 95, junkets handed out non-transferable chips to players, and if they won, exchanged those chips for premium chips and then back to non-transferable chips. Each broker received a set of non-transferable chips, offered in Australian or Hong Kong dollars. The room was not mentioned in The Star’s planning submissions.

Counsel Nicholas Condylis noted that nowhere in the casino’s submission was there any reference to the cage in Salon 95 or a buy-in desk in Salon 95.

Stevens said: “It doesn’t detail that the junket operator was receiving cash from the players … that the junket operator subsequently used to buy in to the rebate program with us.”

Previously, Stevens has defended his conduct at the casino in 2013 and 2014, refuting a suggestion by counsel assisting, Naomi Sharp SC that he “deliberately tried to get regulators to use a China UnionPay card at Star Entertainment venues.

In 2019, China Union was concerned that its cards were being used at Star casinos for large, suspicious gambling transactions that violated its rules. It relayed its concerns to NAB, which then contacted the casino operator.

In response, Paulinka Dudek, deputy treasurer of the Star Group, sent an email saying that the UnionPay card was used to pay for Star’s hotel accommodation services and sent a bill with the hotel room number. However, she did not mention that the card was also used to finance gambling.

A few days ago, the ILGA inquiry heard that junket operator Suncity continued to operate with cash at the group’s Sydney casino despite a ban.

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GAMBLING REGULATION Star Entertainment Group