The Star Sydney to face another NICC operational suitability inquiry

The Star Sydney
Image: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

The New South Wales Independent Casino Commission has told The Star Entertainment Group it has appointed Adam Bell SC to lead another inquiry into The Star Sydney casino.

The inquiry, under sections 143(1) and 143A of the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW), will assist the NICC in determining the suitability of management and operations of The Star Sydney, in which Bell will have “the powers and authorities of a royal commissioner in NSW”.

The NICC will examine if structural changes have been made by The Star Sydney over the past 18 months since the operator was deemed unsuitable to hold its casino licence within NSW following a review.

The review, also conducted by Bell, found “governance, risk management and cultural failings” at the Sydney casino.

Following the review, the NICC suspended The Star’s licence indefinitely and appointed Nick Weeks as an independent manager to provide the operator with a chance to show it was “suitable or was capable of reaching suitability within a reasonable time”. 

Initially appointed to the role for 90 days, Weeks’ term was extended twice by way of regulation. The NICC has stated that during this period, “The Star has not yet satisfied the NICC that it is suitable, or is capable of becoming suitable, to hold a casino licence”.

In addition, the NICC “remains concerned that The Star has not made sufficient progress in key areas” ahead of the expiration of Weeks’ management on June 30, 2024.

Starting February 19, The Star has been told by the NICC that the inquiry will take approximately 15 weeks, concluding on May 31, 2024, with the findings from Bell to be presented to the NICC by that date.

The announcement of the inquiry comes in the same week in which The Star was scheduled to report its results for the first half of its 2024 financial year on February 21. Now, the operator has announced a trading halt.