The Star Entertainment Group is in rough seas with the regulatory review underway and, despite its best efforts, the investigation finds Star’s Sydney casino not ‘fit’ to have a license.
“Unable to have a license, what does that mean?”
The Independent Liquor & The New South Wales Gaming Authority (ILGA) called for an investigation into The Star’s apparently suspicious activities in gaming halls. Naomi Sharp SC, assistant legal advisor, said on Tuesday that the review of The Star and its Sydney casino is not yet complete to understand “what went wrong in these organizations”.
The review process is not yet fully completed, but Sharp added that “we believe that the evidence presented at the public hearing establishes that Star is not suited to maintain the casino’s license. nor its close associate Star Entertainment.” Speaking with Adam Bell SC, who is leading the investigation, Sharp urged him to use the same approach used in Bergin’s Crown Resorts investigation, whereby if “most standards” are not met, then “society’s journey examined comes to an end.” The end”.
Business zest is not enough
When regulatory pressure mounts and questionable practices quickly become commonplace, these types of investigations often do not end well for licensees. Crown’s “poor corporate governance” and “flawed risk management structures” were key issues identified by Bergin’s inquiry, leaving the company’s license to operate by a thread. Crown was under investigation on suspicion of money laundering, fraud and organized crime, and a multitude of leadership changes were planned. In the end, Crown was found unfit to have a license.
The Star had already moved forward with the departure or relocation of C-level employees. Mark Bekier resigned as CEO in March and three other executives left the ship in early May. Yes, a new CEO was appointed in April. John O’Neil took over the reins in April before stepping down in May.
Amid top-notch cleanups, Star also cut all discount programs to avoid complications during the review process. The “complications” were suspicious changes in local actors that some critics might interpret as attempts to save taxes. Anti-money laundering issues were also part of the problem.
Turbulent times during the review
Some “questionable” or unclear activities require further investigation. On May 5, former Star Vice President Simon Kim fled after an investigation revealed he stole $9.7 million in 2020 — money believed to have been sent to Kuan Koi but redirected to Kim’s personal account.
Another issue that came up during the investigation was dealing with Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo, who is banned in Australia. The Star handled about $1.3 billion of the billionaire’s money between 2010 and 2018, despite heavy regulations. The ridiculous amounts deposited would have been used for bribery.
It seems that many issues need to be addressed as a result of the current review and Sharp has outlined 26 areas that need to be worked on quickly:
“There hasn’t been the period of deep reflection that, of course, will be necessary to develop a concrete plan of what … can put these companies in the right position,” Sharp said.
While all of this may seem bleak for Star now, it’s important to note that the company is still in a position to receive a potential opportunity to address its shortcomings and alleged wrongdoing. That’s not to say that this kind of behavior is or should be normalized – after all, it’s the sole purpose of IGLA’s existence, and game companies in Australia – it seems – will remember it. .