Star Entertainment Group has been hit with a second A$100m penalty package and been given a 12 month time frame to get its house in order after the latest disciplinary actions against the beleaguered group was taken in Queensland.
The financial penalty applied, which mirrors the fee imposed in New South Wales, will be paid through 2023 in three instalments on March 31 (A$30m), June 30 (A$30m) and December 31 ($40m).
Shannon Fentiman, Attorney General and Minister for Justice, said The Star’s and other interested parties’ responses to the show cause notices issued last month have been taken into consideration when determining appropriate disciplinary action.
“Queensland casinos must operate with integrity – and it is clear that there have been major failings by the Star group and its entities,” the Minister said.
“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.”
Adding: “The reason these significant penalties could be applied is due to recent reforms to the Act which passed in the Queensland Parliament in October.
“And I can assure Queenslanders that The Star will be sent the bill for the cost of the special manager’s work.”
These determinations follow an external review being undertaken into the company by Robert Gotterson, which saw the firm be found unsuitable to hold a casino licence within the state.
Gotterson found that the company’s business was operated “in a way that is inconsistent with the achievement of the objectives of the Casino Control Act 1982”.
In addition to the above, the Treasury Brisbane and Star Gold Coast casino licences boasted by the group are to be suspended for a period of 90 days on a deferred basis with effect from December 1, 2023.
This deferred date has been implemented to give the company an opportunity to remediate its management and operations and return to a position of suitability prior to the suspension taking effect. Should The Star make satisfactory progress, the Attorney General may determine to postpone or rescind the suspension of licences.
Furthermore, Nicholas Weeks, who was previously named as a special manager for the Star’s Sydney operations, will occupy a similar role in overseeing the Star’s Queensland facilities. The cost associated with this will be recouped from the relevant casino.
“It’s also important that we have a person on the ground here in Queensland, which is why Ms Terri Hamilton will be the Queensland Manager Assisting, and will join Mr Weeks’ very skilled and capable team,” Fentiman stated.
Philip Crawford, New South Wales Independent Casino Commission Chief Commissioner, said: “Installing Mr Weeks as Queensland’s special manager will underscore collaboration with our Queensland regulatory counterparts.
“This will ensure The Star acts consistently in compliance with its obligations – no matter which state they operate in.”
Despite reiterating that this is an opportunity for The Star to make “every effort” to remediate and achieve suitability, despite having “a long way to go,” Fentiman closed by warning that should “significant steps to improve” operations not be taken then further action could follow.