Public Hearings to Be Held as Part of Ongoing Investigation into Star Entertainment

Olivia Cole

The review of The Star Casino in Sydney will see some public hearings to examine the operator’s measures preventing the infiltration of organised crime and money laundering. Some senior figures from Star Entertainment, such as CEO Matt Bekier and some board members, are also expected to take part in the hearings.

As confirmed in media reports, senior barrister Adam Bell, SC, has been appointed by the Victorian Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) to examine the operations of the Australian gambling giant at public hearings that are scheduled to take place in March 2022. The review started four weeks ago and the gambling operator has confirmed that it would comply with all authorities’ requests for documents and information, and would fully cooperate with the review.

Mr Bell has been the main leading force in Commissioner Bergin’s inquiry into Crown Resorts, which eventually ended with the findings that the gambling company was not suitable to hold an operating casino licence for its new Barangaroo casino in Sydney.

According to Adam Bell, it was in the public interest to hold the aforementioned public hearings as part of Star Entertainment’s system administration and maintenance review. As mentioned above, the probe is aimed at finding out whether the Australian gambling operator is complying with its statutory obligations, and if yes, whether it is still fit to hold a casino operating permit.

Star Entertainment Faces Allegations of AML and Counter-Terrorist Financing Procedures Failure

As Casino Guardian already reported, Star Entertainment saw a significant 23% decline in its share value following some media reports alleged it in suspected organised crime, money laundering, foreign interference and large-scale fraud. At the time when it responded to the accusations, the Australian gambling giant described the reports as misleading.

The announcement of the expected public hearings followed the revelations that the gaming regulator of Queensland will investigate money-laundering allegations related to the company.

The media hubs that made the aforementioned allegations also revealed that, back in 2018, Star Entertainment’s CEO Matt Bekier and Chairman John O’Neill were warned that the gambling company’s anti-money laundering procedures were failing. Furthermore, the media outlets also shared concerns that the planned review of The Star Sydney’s casino operating licence that routinely takes place every five years could be held in privacy to prevent further revelations from being made to the wider public.

Following the reports, Victor Dominello, the Customer Service Minister of the state of New South Wales (NSW), who is in charge of gambling regulation in the state, provided his support for the public inquiry into the casino operator.

So now, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has backed the proposal of Mr Bell to hold public hearings into the Australian gambling giant’s operations and management to examine the allegations detailed in the aforementioned media reports. The contents of two confidential KPMG probes presented to the CEO of Star Entertainment in 2018 will also be subject to the investigation and public hearings.

The public hearings are a major hurdle for the gambling company that has sought to establish itself as the reputable player in the country’s gambling sector after Commissioner Bergin’s inquiry seriously tarnished the reputation of its competitor Crown Resorts.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams
Author: Wanda Peters