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Star found unfit to run casinos in Queensland



Star has been declared unfit to hold a Queensland casino licence after an inquiry said it seriously derelicted its money laundering and responsible gaming duties and deliberately misled regulators.

Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said casino laws would be urgently tightened in response to former judge Robert Gotterson’s report into Star, released on Thursday following a public inquiry.

Mr Gotterson found Star’s “one-eyed focus” on profit caused it to seriously derelict its anti-money laundering and responsible gaming duties and deliberately mislead the casino regulator.

He made an open finding on whether Star was a suitable licence holder, but Ms Fentiman said the company was unfit to run Queensland gambling venues.

“We have in black and white some damning findings about how this company has operated, how they dealt with the regulator and their obligations to act in the public interest clearly were not taken seriously,” she said on Thursday.

“These are damning findings and the government will now act.”

She said Star would be issued with a show-cause notice and given 21 days to either respond or face penalties, including fines and having its licence suspended or cancelled.

The government will appoint a special manager to run Star Gold Coast and the Brisbane Treasury casinos in the meantime.

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Ms Fentiman’s finding also affects Star’s $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf casino and resort development in Brisbane, which is due to open next year.

“A finding of unsuitability does, of course, have implications for the casino license for Queens Wharf. But there is still a show cause process to go through, and then a range of options available to government,” she said.

Mr Gotterson’s report found Star’s focus on “drawing in business” resulted in a “serious dereliction” of its Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) responsibilities.

“It was a serious dereliction of The Star’s AML/CTF responsibilities that the deficiencies explored in the Inquiry could occur in the first place and that they could persist over some years,” he wrote.

The company was found to have deliberately misled the regulator about changing its policies to conceal $55 million in banned transactions from Chinese lender China UnionPay.

Star also actively encouraged people banned from its NSW and Victorian venues, who it had “grounds to suspect may have been involved in criminal activity”, to gamble at its Queensland premises.

It allegedly “pursued” some of them by giving them free private jet flights, luxury accommodation and gifts including a $50,000 Rolex watch, the inquiry was told last month.

Mr Gotterson said Star’s failure to run its casinos in line with Queensland laws was similar to failures identified in the NSW inquiry, which also found it unfit to hold a licence.

“The two Star casinos presently carrying on business in Queensland (Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane) have been operated in a way that is inconsistent with the achievement of the objectives of the Casino Control Act,” the report said.

– AAP

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The post Star found unfit to run casinos in Queensland appeared first on The New Daily.



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