Star Entertainment (ASX: SGR) roundly rebuked as casino future remains under cloud
Star Entertainment Group has been roundly rebuked by politicians, legal experts and analysts after a NSW inquiry found the casino giant unfit to hold a licence for its flagship casino in Sydney but came short of imposing penalties.
The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) published Adam Bell SC’s report on Tuesday which found The Star unsuitable to hold a casino licence in NSW.
The public inquiry was launched after a 2021 investigation by The Sydney MorningHerald,The Age and 60 Minutesalleged The Star enabled suspected money laundering, organised crime, large-scale fraud and foreign interference in its Australian casinos for years, even though its board was warned its anti-money-laundering controls were failing.
The Star has 14 days to respond to the NICC’s show-cause notice to prove why its licence should not be revoked permanently. Unlike the Bergin Inquiry into rival Crown Resorts, Bell did not recommend actions The Star should take for its licence to be restored as it was not in the terms of reference.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Wednesday the performance of The Star had been “absolutely horrendous,” warning the group would face closure if they failed to comply with new regulations.
“They’ve got 14 days to respond to that report. And if they don’t comply, they’re likely to close. So, it’s important to have strong conditions and strong regulators in place, that’s what we have in NSW,” he said.
“I very much welcome the findings and the work that they’ve done that has highlighted these issues. There is no place for anybody in any organisation, including casinos, to not be compliant with the regulations that are in place.”
Bell found The Star to have a culture of greed, prompting NSW commission chief Phillip Crawford to express concern its aggressively legalistic approach may be too embedded for repair on Tuesday. Unlike Crown Resorts, Crawford said, The Star has consistently looked for loop-holes or workarounds to continue its operations.
The Star said on Tuesday it intended to respond to the commission’s show-cause notice within the 14-day period.