Star unsuitable to hold casino licence
The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) has published Adam Bell SC’s report, which found The Star unsuitable to hold a casino licence in NSW.
The NICC has issued The Star with a show cause notice and is considering its options for disciplinary action in response to Bell’s findings and recommendations.
NICC Chief Commissioner, Philip Crawford, said while the majority of The Star’s 8,000 employees were doing the right thing, the report identified systemic governance, risk and cultural failures at the Sydney casino.
“The report is, quite frankly, shocking. It provides evidence of an extensive compliance breakdown in key areas of The Star’s business,” Mr Crawford 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.
“In addition to Bell’s analysis of the very real risks of criminal infiltration and the concealment with which senior staff conducted business, the report details cases of individual patrons exposed to gambling harms.
“The Star offered free alcohol to VIPs as an inducement to gamble and allowed vulnerable patrons to gamble continuously for more than 24 hours at a time, without intervention. These personal accounts are jarring and illustrate how unrestrained gambling can go from entertainment to exploitation.
“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.”