Authorities in Australia penalised a big gambling business AU $100 million ($62 million) for failing to forbid money laundering and other illicit behaviour at its casinos. According to reports, the Star Entertainment Group’s casino licence in Sydney has been suspended, and it will no longer be operational as of Friday.
The New South Wales (NSW) Independent Casino Commission (NICC) acted after a research earlier this year found money laundering and the facilitation of organised crime at the Star’s Sydney casino. In the investigation, the operator was criticised for its ‘cavalier’ approach to watching casino activity and for allegedly trying to cover up its illicit activities.
As a result of the investigation, the casino operator at the time recruited an independent monitor and pledged to change its culture. They also undertook to do ‘everything required’ to regain their reputation as a respectable operator. The NSW government established regulations in August that include a $100 million fine as the maximum penalty that may be levied. The regulator said on Monday that it wouldn’t entirely revoke The Star’s licence in order to protect thousands of jobs. The NSW Independent Casino Commission’s manager will oversee operations at the Sydney casino, it was further noted in the statement.
Philip Crawford, the head of regulatory affairs, stated that starting on Friday, ‘the Star will not be permitted to run the casino on its own until it can earn its licence back’. Several top officials from the Star group, including outgoing CEO Matt Bekier, resigned in reaction to the incident.
Robbie Cooke promised to restore the Star’s reputation before assuming the role of new CEO. Despite the fact that the corporation has ‘lost its way in a number of areas,’ Cooke was quoted as saying, ‘I’m determined to rehabilitating it and returning the firm to acceptability [to preserve its casino licences]’.