Star Entertainment Group Hit with Record Fine of $100M for Money Laundering
Australia’s gambling giant Star Entertainment Group has been charged $100 million for failing to prevent money laundering at its casinos in Sydney. The group’s permit to run the casinos has also been revoked.
Australia’s Casino operators have come under intense pressure to change their gambling operations after accusations of extensive illegal activity. As per a public inquiry, the Star was accused of adopting a “cavalier” strategy to governance and occasionally taking deliberate efforts to conceal its tracks, leading to the infiltration of their Sydney casino by organized crime including money laundering.
The regulator refrained from completely revoking Star’s license in order to safeguard thousands of jobs, however, the fine announced now is the maximum permitted. The casino will continue to run under a manager chosen by the regulator in accordance with the terms of the suspension.
According to Philip Crawford, chief of the NSW Independent Casino Commission, the Star won’t be able to manage the casino independently unless it can “earn” its license back. The Star was deemed incapable of holding a casino permit in NSW, according to its final report, which was delivered last month. At that time, Mr. Crawford stated: “The institutional arrogance of this company has been breathtaking.”
The Star Entertainment Group responded to the report by stating that it has taken “significant and urgent remedial steps” and will take “whatever necessary” to regain its license to operate the casino. It still hasn’t responded to the sanctions imposed, which were made public on the first day of the new CEO Robbie Cooke’s tenure.
The “culture issues” of the Star, according to Mr. Crawford, will take some time to resolve, however, the company had already shown signs of reformation under Mr. Cooke’s direction.
Following a similar investigation in Queensland, the Star was also found to be unable to manage its three casinos earlier this month. A number of Australian casinos, particularly those run by Crown Resorts, the state’s leading gambling, and entertainment company, have been the subject of media inquiries in recent years alleging misconduct. The Victorian gambling regulators fined it $80M earlier this year for failing to stop the illegal behavior.