Star lawyer believed use of China UnionPay debit cards was legal

China UnionPay cards were being used at Star casinos for suspicious gambling transactions.
China UnionPay cards were being used at Star casinos for suspicious gambling transactions.

Oliver White, Star Entertainment’s in-house lawyer, claims he believed it was “legally feasible” to accept China UnionPay debit cards to pay for gaming chips.

Australia.- On a new day of the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) hearing into Star Entertainment, Oliver White, Star Entertainment’s in-house lawyer was questioned about the legality of Star Entertainment accepting China UnionPay cards.

White told the inquiry that he knew that China UnionPay cards could not be used for gambling purposes. However, he said he believed it was legal to use the hotel’s point of sale machines to swipe the cards. Once the funds were cleared, they were diverted to gaming.

White admitted he knew the funds were ultimately used for gambling but said he believed the Chinese firm’s ban was “not applicable” because of the two-stage process used in charging them. He said he did not recall talking to anyone from the National Australia Bank, China UnionPay’s representative in the country, about how the cards were used.

Paulinka Dudek, deputy treasurer of the Star Group, had previously admitted she misled NAB about the use of a China Union Pay card at the casino complex.

When asked about Salon 95, where junkets handed out non-transferable chips to players, Oliver White said: “I think this is probably my failure; I am sure I discussed it with people but did I sufficiently escalate it as sort of a super concern? I … can’t specifically remember having done so although … I think everyone was aware.”

Adam Bell SC, the counsel who is conducting the review, asked White: “Did you feel at the time that there was a culture where business goals took priority over compliance goals?”, and he answered: “It’s something I’ve reflected on, and I feel that was the case from time to time.”

Skye Arnott, Star’s chief financial crime officer, had previously told the inquiry that Star Entertainment did not take prompt action against apparent fraud. 

Star names John O’Neill as interim executive chairman

he Star Entertainment Group has named John O’Neill AO as executive chairman on an interim basis after Matt Bekier stepped down following revelations in the ILGA inquiry.

The Star Entertainment Group said Bekier will remain available in the short term to provide handover assistance as the board requests. O’Neill will lead the company as executive chairman until a new managing director and CEO is appointed.

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GAMBLING REGULATION The Star Entertainment Group