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December 8, 2022

The Star Casino: suspended licence and $100 million fine

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The Star Casino has had its licence suspended and has been fined $100 million and had a new manager appointed. Photo Facebook.

It has just been announced that in response to the revelations of the Bell Report, the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) has decided to suspend The Star’s licence, fine the casino $100 million, and appoint a manager.

In September the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) published Adam Bell SC’s report, which found The Star Casino in Sydney, unsuitable to hold a casino licence in NSW.

Majority of employees doing the right thing

NICC Chief Commissioner, Philip Crawford, said while the majority of The Star’s 8,000 employees were doing the right thing, the report identified systemic governance, risk and cultural failures at the Sydney casino.

The report found that huge amounts of money were disguised by the casino as hotel expenses, but vast sums of cash evaded anti-money laundering protocols in numerous situations, most alarmingly through Salon 95 – the secret room with a second cash cage.

Bell’s analysis showed that there were very real risks of criminal infiltration and the concealment with which senior staff conducted business, the report details cases of individual patrons exposed to gambling harms.

The Star offered free alcohol to VIPs as an inducement to gamble and allowed vulnerable patrons to gamble continuously for more than 24 hours at a time, without intervention.

Manager appointed

NICC Chief Commissioner Philip Crawford said, in conjunction with the decision to take the disciplinary actions of suspension and pecuniary penalty, a manager has been appointed by the NICC, which will enable the casino to remain operational while The Star’s licence is suspended.

‘The suspension comes into effect Friday 21 October 9am when the manager starts in the role,’ said Mr Crawford.

‘The NICC has resolved that it is no longer in the public interest that The Star should remain in control of that licence, and that The Star is not currently suitable to be the holder of the licence.

A public apology

The Star’s current board and executive understand the gravity of Bell’s findings. They have publicly apologised and acknowledged the serious wrongdoing that occurred, and they are willing to co-operate with the regulator.

‘The Star’s public communications to shareholders and its submission to the NICC’s show cause notice have demonstrated genuine contrition and a desire to work openly and transparently with the NICC to try to preserve the licence and protect the many jobs that depend on it being operable.

‘If it were not for The Star’s change in attitude and our belief that it is in the public interest to protect the thousands of jobs at risk, there might have been a different outcome.’

Likely The Star can achieve suitability

The NICC has appointed Nicholas Weeks as manager until it can determine whether the matters identified during the Bell Review can be rectified and whether the NICC believes it is likely that The Star can achieve suitability.

Mr Crawford said he is hopeful that the incoming CEO Robbie Cooke can apply his experience and leadership skills to guide the company towards suitability under the direction of the manager.

‘The appointment of Mr Weeks will allow casino operations to continue and his primary focus will be to ensure a robust root cause analysis and review of the casino’s culture is undertaken.

‘The appointment of a manager does not mean the NICC believes The Star is suitable to hold a casino licence.

‘At this point, the NICC believes there is a possibility The Star can undertake the reforms necessary to give the NICC confidence it can start a remediation process with a view to becoming suitable.’


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Why is this even published in The Echo…. It’s not local news and I’m sure most locals care little for a Sydney casino drama… If we wanted this news we know where to find it.

    • Mullum, it is a bit deeper than just a Sydney Casino drama.
      It goes to the issue of governance by the corporate types in charge (eg, failings by Crown previously and Optus lately ) and that of a NSW Government that is hopelessly addicted to $’sgambling.

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