11/10/2021 - 10:00

Gambling watchdog reviews Star, Crown

11/10/2021 - 10:00

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Shares in Star Entertainment Group fell sharply today following allegations its casinos were used to supprt money laundering as the New South Wales gaming regulator continues its assessment of both Star and competitor Crown Resorts.

Star Entertainment has defended its operations amid money laundering allegations. Photo: Maksym Kozlenko

Shares in Star Entertainment Group fell sharply today following allegations its casinos were used to supprt money laundering as the New South Wales gaming regulator continues its assessment of both Star and competitor Crown Resorts.

Star, which operates casinos in Queensland and Sydney, on Monday responded to Nine media reports which alleged criminals were benefiting from lax anti-money laundering controls.

Star said the reports were misleading although it could not publicly discuss individuals. 

The company said it will address the allegations with regulators. These include Adam Bell SC, who is reviewing controls at the Sydney casino for NSW regulators.

Mr Bell was the lead senior counsel in the Bergin inquiry into Crown Resorts' Sydney casino. That inquiry raised serious concerns about anti-money laundering controls and prompted royal commissions in Victoria and Western Australia.

Mr Bell's review of the Sydney casino will determine whether Star Entertainment is suitable to hold the licence.

The Nine TV and newspaper coverage alleged the company had similar failings to rival Crown.

Star Entertainment said it traded in a heavily regulated industry and its operations were often checked and reviewed.

Its Queensland casinos are The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane.

Separately, the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority today approved three interim liquor licences for Crown’s Barangaroo resort in Sydney which were due to expire at the end of this month.

Despite allowing Crown to continue to serve alcohol on its Sydney property until June 30 next year, the industry watchdog affirmed its position on Crown’s gaming operations had not changed.

“These issues are complex, and Crown is required to undertake significant change to satisfy the Authority that  it is on a pathway to become suitable to hold a gaming licence,” ILGA chair Philip Crawford said.

“It will take further time for Crown to fully implement that change and for the Authority to give it proper consideration before making its determination.”

Star and crown shares closed today down 22.9 per cent and 3.36 per cent.

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