Sydney’s Star Casino To Undergo Second Investigation Into Its Suitability To Hold a Casino License

Home » Sydney’s Star Casino To Undergo Second Investigation Into Its Suitability To Hold a Casino License

Star Sydney’s appropriateness to own a casino license will return into focus following the announcement of the New South Wales Independent Commission (NICC) on February 19 that it’d launch a 2nd investigation following concerns about the success of the remediation efforts of Star.

The investigation:

In a step that appears to have taken Star Ent. Group by surprise, the leader of the investigation will once again be Adam Bell SC. However, this will occur just 18 months after he initially suggested that Star be declared unfit after the former investigation that took place during 2022.

Relatedly, the 2nd inquiry will begin instantly and will last for the duration of 15 weeks. In addition, the final report will be filed to the aforementioned NICC on May 31 of the said year, which is prior to the end of term of the independent manager who was tasked with supervising the remediation efforts of Star. Clearing out why the second investigation was necessary, Philip Crawford, Chief Commissioner of the NICC, commented there was a “substantial shift required and The Star has had 18 months to demonstrate that it has the capability and resources to regain its casino licence.”

But, he pointed out, the regulator at that time wasn’t pleased with the progress of Star regarding remediation, when it formerly expanded the term of the aforementioned independent manager in December.

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In this regard, Crawford added according to Inside Asian Gaming: “The NICC has had concerns about the extent that remediation is attributable to the manager’s oversight and direction versus what is being driven by The Star’s reform agenda. Bell Two will bring us back to the Bell Report and The Star’s efforts to regain its casino licence in the shadow of that report. There is much at stake for The Star, so the NICC is giving the casino every chance it can to demonstrate whether it has the capacity and competence to achieve suitability. This includes meeting its financial obligations under the casino licence and funding its remediation program sufficiently. The inquiry will provide the NICC with the information needed to make an important decision for The Star, its employees, its stakeholders and the wider community.”

Furthermore, Star suspended trading during late morning of February 19 following the announcement of the NICC.

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The original Bell Report provided a details on extensive range of reasons why The Star was deemed unsuitable. Within these reasons are the Star’s dealings with Suncity Group, an Asian junket operator, and the firm’s response to independent audits of its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing controls, and the non-legal utilization of China UnionPay cards to finance gambling at The Star Sydney.

NSW regulator imposes six-month deadline to Star Sydney to regain casino license:

In other news, prior to the said announcement by NICC, the said Commission imposed a new six-month deadline to the Australian casino giant Star Entertainment to regain the gambling license for its gaming operations in Sydney. Otherwise, the operator may reportedly face permanent closures of its gaming floors in the capital of the New South Wales province.

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Relatedly, the casino operator faced a series of fines, class actions, and license revocations from watchdog authority AUSTRAC and other regulatory bodies in the last financial year.  These measures have resulted in a $2.2 billion non-cash impairment of The Star Sydney, The Star Gold Coast, and Treasury Brisbane operator’s properties. However, the company has reportedly secured a new $450 million debt facility from Barclays and Westpac to continue its refinancing process in line with the recent strategic review conducted by Barrenjoey Capital Partners.

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