Legal & Regulatory

AUSTRAC starts an investigation into Star Entertainment Group

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is investigating casino operator Star Entertainment Group over suspected breaches of customer due diligence laws, which could jeopardise an AU$12bn (US$9.4bn) proposal to buy rival Crown Resorts, reports Reuters.


According to the statement released by Star Entertainment, AUSTRAC has identified several potential non-compliance cases with the Australian Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007.

The concerns include “ongoing customer due diligence, adopting and maintaining an AML/CTF Program and compliance with Part A of that Program”, and were initially addressed by AUSTRAC in 2019, when the regulator focused on Star Sydney’s management of high-risk and politically exposed clients from 2015 to 2019.

AUSTRAC will conduct further investigation, and the Star stated it “will fully co-operate with AUSTRAC in relation to its requests for information and documents and the investigation.” The Star operates the only casino in Sidney.

The Star recently submitted a proposal to acquire Crown Resorts, another operator that is itself going through several investigations and a royal inquiry into its casino operation.

The initial report that alleged Crown’s involvement in money laundering kickstarted a series of probes to determine whether the organisation is suitable to hold gaming licences. Now AUSTRAC has widened its Crown investigation and started a formal enforcement probe into a potential breach of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules in Crown’s Perth casino.

The regulator is also looking into SkyCity Entertainment Group, which has a casino in Australia, suspecting the same breaches in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism rules.

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