19.02.2024

by Antoni Majewski

Star Entertainment Group Faces Potential Closure of Sydney Casino Amid New Inquiry

The future of Star Entertainment Group’s flagship Sydney casino hangs in the balance as the NSW Independent Casino Commission initiates a second inquiry to evaluate the company’s operational reforms following previous regulatory failings.

A Second Look into Star Sydney’s Operations

Philip Crawford, chief commissioner of the NSW Independent Casino Commission, announced a new 15-week inquiry into the operations of Star Sydney. This move comes two years after a previous investigation uncovered significant anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism deficiencies within the casino’s practices.

The inquiry, led by barrister Adam Bell, SC, could potentially result in the revocation of the casino’s license among other options being considered by the commission.

The Stakes for Star Entertainment

The commission’s decision to launch another probe into Star Sydney underscores the gravity of the casino’s past failings and the stringent standards it must meet to regain regulatory confidence.

Crawford expressed skepticism about an automatic license restoration, suggesting that any potential reinstatement would likely entail strict oversight through an independent monitor, reflecting the commission’s concerns over the casino’s current operational standards.

The inquiry is the latest in a series of challenges for Star Entertainment Group, which has seen its market value plummet by half since Bell’s initial 2022 investigation. That inquiry laid bare a litany of compliance failures at Star Sydney, including money laundering, criminal infiltration, and fraud, casting a long shadow over the casino’s suitability to hold its license. Bell’s upcoming inquiry will scrutinize the extent of the casino’s reforms since his damning 900-page report.

Implications for Star Entertainment Group

With trading in Star shares suspended and the company poised to announce its half-year results, the industry and investors are closely watching the outcome of this inquiry. The commission’s rigorous scrutiny signals a broader crackdown on regulatory compliance within the casino industry, with significant implications for Star Entertainment Group’s operations and reputation.

The new inquiry into Star Sydney’s operations marks a pivotal moment for both Star Entertainment Group and the broader casino industry in Australia. It underscores the increasing importance of stringent regulatory compliance and the potential consequences for businesses that fail to meet these standards.

As the commission evaluates the casino’s reforms, the outcome of this inquiry could set a precedent for accountability and operational integrity within the industry, highlighting the need for transparent and responsible gambling practices.

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