The Star Entertainment Group has copped a massive fine and been given 12 months to “get its house in order” and prove why it shouldn’t face a 90-day license suspension in Queensland.
The state’s Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Shannon Fentiman, announced on Friday the government had fined The Star $100 million in pecuniary penalties after it was found unsuitable in its practices in its Queensland casinos.
Ms Fentiman said The Star has until December 1, 2023 to improve its practices or face a 90 day licence suspension.
“Essentially this means that Star has 12 months to get their house in order if they do not want to see a 90 day suspension of their licence,” she said.
“These penalties have been considered very carefully following the damning findings of the Gotterson Review as well as considering the responses by Star as part of the show cause process.
“These (penalties) aim to strike a balance in ensuring thousands of Queenslanders can remain employed but also sending that very strong message that what happened here in Star Casinos is completely unacceptable.”
Ms Fentiman said they are “significant pecuniary penalties” and hoped Star would use the next 12 months to get their casinos in working order.
“It sends a very strong message to Star they has to absolutely get this right and they have to absolutely get back to suitability,” she said.
“That 90 days that is hanging over their heads so they get the remediation right and they return to suitability as soon as possible.
“Queensland casinos must operate with integrity – and it is clear that there have been major failings by the Star group and its entities.
“Like many Queenslanders, I was appalled at the extent of the actions of The Star in welcoming excluded persons to their casinos and the exorbitant incentives on offer for questionable gamblers.”
The government has also appointed Nicholas Weeks as an independent special manager to monitor The Star’s operations in Queensland, with the cost to be recouped from the relevant casino.
“Mr Weeks is currently the special manager currently in place in NSW, he was appointed by the independent NSW Casino Commission,” Ms Fentiman said.
“(He‘s) a very experienced individual and I think given that Star is the one company, it makes sense that the special manager is working across NSW and Queensland.”
Mr Weeks will be assisted by Terri Hamilton, who has worked for SunSuper looking at counterterrorism and money laundering and will act as manager assisting in Queensland.
“Between the two of them, they will have oversight into all cooperations into Star,” Ms Fentiman said.
“I know they’ll begin doing a root cause into how these unlawful and criminal acts came to happen in Casinos.
I think it makes sense to have that collaboration and cooperation between regulators across different states because it means the casino can’t play one regulator off against the other.
More to come