The Star Entertainment Group has 14 days to respond to the inquiry’s findings
Australia.- Adam Bell SC’s report into The Star Entertainment has concluded that the operator is not suitable to operate casinos in New South Wales. Philip Crawford, chief commissioner of the Independent Casino Commission, said Star had been issued with a show cause notice and had 14 days to respond before he takes a decision based on the report.
He said: “Not only were huge amounts of money disguised by the casino as hotel expenses, but vast sums of cash evaded anti-money laundering protocols in numerous situations, most alarmingly through Salon 95 – the secret room with a second cash cage.
“We are in the process of taking stock of the report’s content. There are a range of implications across 30 recommendations that need to be worked through. Once we have given The Star the opportunity to respond to the notice, we will be in a position to determine an appropriate disciplinary approach.
“The NSW Government’s recent reforms have enhanced the regulatory apparatus with which to act on Bell’s report and our options include loss of licence, suspension, monetary penalties, and/or appointment of a manager.
“The NICC has all the tools it needs at its disposal to respond to Bell’s recommendations, and we will develop an approach that is proportionate to the seriousness of the report.”
The NICC reported that it is considering pursuing one or more of the following actions in relation to the Star’s casino licence:
- the cancellation or suspension of the licence,
- the imposition on the casino operator of a pecuniary penalty of up to $100m,
- the amendment of the terms or conditions of the licence (other than under section 22),
- a requirement that a casino operator, or a close associate of a casino operator, give an undertaking (an enforceable undertaking) to do or refrain from doing something,
- the issue of a letter of censure to the casino operator.
The NICC said that in the event that it decides to cancel or suspend The Star’s casino licence, it may consider appointing a manager. The Star said it is considering the report and intends to respond within 14 days.
In March, Crown Resorts was also deemed unsuitable to hold a licence for its Perth casino. However, the company kept its licence under stricter conditions with the appointment of a special manager.