Star Entertainment Group fined $100 million over Queensland casino breaches, given 12 months to ‘get their house in order’

 In Uncategorized

Star Entertainment Group will be hit with $100 million in fines and a special manager appointed to monitor its two Queensland casinos.

The company's casino licence will also be suspended for 90 days, but that action has been deferred until December, 2023.

Queensland's Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman announced the penalties on Friday — two months after she found the gambling giant unsuitable to hold a casino licence in Queensland, following a major report.

"Essentially this means Star has 12 months to get their house in order if they don't want to see a 90-day suspension of their licence," she said.

Ms Fentiman said the penalties have been considered "very carefully" following the damning findings of the Gotterson review, as well as the responses from Star during the show-cause process.

"These disciplinary actions aim to strike a balance between ensuring that thousands of Queenslanders can remain employed, but also sending that very strong message that what happened here in Star casinos is completely unacceptable," she said.

Nicholas Weeks – who was installed by the NSW Independent Casino Commission as manager of Star's casino licence in Sydney – has also been chosen as special manager in Queensland, with Star to pay the costs.

"I think given that Star really is the one company, it makes sense for the special manager to be working across New South Wales and Queensland," she said.

"In addition, we will have a manager assisting Mr Weeks here in Queensland – Terry Hamilton – a very experienced individual.

"So, I think between the two of them, they will have oversight into all operations of Star.

"I know they will begin by doing a root-cause analysis about how these unlawful and criminal acts came to happen in casinos."

The independent review by former Court of Appeal judge Robert Gotterson found Star had "actively encouraged" patrons – who were banned interstate — to gamble at its Queensland casinos, demonstrating a "lively disregard" for the law.

Star was also "less than forthcoming" with its banker about the use of China UnionPay and there were "serious deficiencies" in its anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing program until relatively recent times, the report said.

Mr Gotterson's report, released in October, made 12 recommendations – including that the state's casino laws be amended to allow for a special manager to be appointed to monitor casino operations.

Legislation passed state parliament later that month, enabling the special manager, and increasing the maximum penalty for regulatory breaches to $100 million.

Show cause notices were issued last month to the licensees of Star's two Queensland casinos to prove why disciplinary action should not be taken against the company.

By state political reporter Kate McKenna (Original ABC Article)