The New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has approved Adam Bell SC’s request for an extension of the inquiry.
Australia.- The public hearings on The Star Sydney will continue until August 31 after the New South Wales regulator, the ILGA, approved Adam Bell SC’s request for an extension. Bell was originally due to share his inquiry’s results by June.
According to the regulator, Bell asked for more time “to undertake further lines of inquiry to fully discharge his duties according to the Terms of Reference.”
The review will define if The Star is suitable to continue holding a casino licence in Sydney. It will also examine the presence and detection of illegal and unwanted activities and individuals in the casino and the management and operation of The Star’s bank accounts.
ILGA chair Philip Crawford said: “The Authority is fully supportive of Mr Bell examining additional witnesses and giving further consideration to a number of key issues.”
Yesterday, 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.
Adam Bell SC then 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.”