Star Entertainment (ASX:SGR) unfit to hold casino licence in Queensland

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Star Entertainment (ASX:SGR) unfit to hold casino licence in Queensland
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The Star Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:SGR) mentioned in an announcement released on 6 October 2022 said that the Queensland Government has made public the final report related to the independent external review into the operations of The Star’s casinos in Queensland. The inquiry  was conducted by Robert Gotterson AO under section 91 of the Casino Control Act 1982 (Qld).

Meanwhile, on 7 October 2022, of the company were spotted trading flat at AU$2.580 apiece at 12:00 PM AEDT on ASX.

As per The Star’s release, Attorney General of Queensland Shannon Fentiman announced the findings of this external review on 14 June 2022. Gotterson submitted his 178-page final report to the government on 30 September 2022. 

According to the Attorney General's response to the report, she has taken into account Gotterson's conclusions as well as those of the Bell Review in New South Wales. She has come to the conclusion that The Star is unfit to maintain a casino licence in Queensland. The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) has also been tasked by the Attorney General to start gathering documentation in order to issue The Star with a show-cause notice.

Gotterson says in his report that his findings support the conclusions in several ways regarding the shortcomings of the two Star casinos currently running in Queensland. A few of them are listed below:

  • The Star deliberately encouraged those who were prohibited from gambling by the Police Commissioners of New South Wales and Victoria at its Queensland casinos.
  • The Star's dealing with its banker over the usage of China UnionPay debit card services was, ‘at best, less than forthcoming’, as said by Gotterson.
  • Up until recently, The Star's AML/CTF programme had significant flaws. It still has issues, at least in terms of clarity and compliance with the risk levels set forth by the AML regime, said the report.

Before the government decides to impose sanctions, potentially millions of dollars in fines and the cancellation of The Star's licence, the firm will have the chance to reply to a show cause procedure, which is anticipated to be finalised this year.

Gotterson’s report suggests a few recommendations for The Star, such as requiring identity cards for casino gamblers, moving away from cash for transactions above $1,000, and setting time and pre-set loss limits for slot machines.

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