Star ‘unfit’ to hold a casino license



Gambling giant Star Entertainment’s Sydney gaming site is not fit to hold a casino license, say lawyers attending a royal commission-style investigation.

“We submit that the evidence from the public hearing establishes that The Star is not fit to hold the casino license and that its close associate Star Entertainment is also not fit,” Naomi’s attorney said on Tuesday. Sharp SC.

In her closing argument, Ms Sharp told the NSW gaming regulator’s inquiry that Star and its Sydney casino were only at the start of their journey “about what was wrong with these organisations”.

“There hasn’t yet been the period of careful reflection that, of course, will be necessary to come up with a concrete plan for what … can get these companies into a proper position,” she said.

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The high-profile investigation looked into allegations that ASX-listed Star allowed suspected money laundering, organized crime, fraud and foreign interference to Star Sydney as part of the assessment whether the venue should retain its casino license.

The inquest heard that a notorious gang-linked junket operated an illegal cage at the casino, the site flouted rules on the use of Chinese debit cards, and casino staff lied to banks and n hadn’t done enough in its dealings with regulators.

There has been evidence that Star worked covertly to prevent the public hearings from taking place.

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Also on Tuesday, Ms Sharp SC outlined 26 areas she would address in her closing argument, describing The Star Sydney casino license as a privilege that gave the site the opportunity to earn “very substantial revenue”.

“In return for this privilege, the casino operator is given a number of very important responsibilities,” Ms Sharp said.

Among closing remarks, Ms Sharp said she would address a briefing given by Star management to the board following the media allegations in 2019.

“We will argue that these representations were quite misleading,” she said.

She would also claim that there was a lack of supervision in the casino’s international VIP team and that “some shortcomings” existed among high-value customers.

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Other topics to be discussed in conclusion included the casino’s ability to maintain its license, the site’s risk management framework, witness credit, and a review of whether Star was underpaying gaming fees to the government of the state.

Following the investigation, there was a cleanup of top Star brass, including chief executive Matt Bekier, chief financial officer Harry Theodore, casino manager Greg Hawkins, chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin and Chairman of the Board John O’Neill. .

The Star investigation follows a review by rival Crown Resorts, which ultimately deemed the casino unfit to hold a license in New South Wales.

The investigation continues on Tuesday.



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