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Inquiry hears patron continued to gamble at The Star despite police ban

Public hearings of the inquiry into The Star Entertainment Group’s Queensland casinos have heard “one of the top 10 table players” at its Gold Coast venue had been banned by police from casinos in two other states.

star inquiry

Day three of public hearings of the inquiry, led by former Court of Appeal judge Robert Gotterson, heard more details about patrons, with one patron reportedly having alleged links to the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta organised crime group. Called Person Two, the patron was excluded from venues in New South Wales and Victoria by police commissioners, but was allowed to continue gambling in Queensland until “some time later.”

The hearing was told that the patron was excluded from a Melbourne casino in December 2014, and from a New South Wales venue in 2015, but was not given a group-wide withdrawal of licence until January 2021.

The Star’s General Manager of Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorism Financing Compliance Howard Steiner acknowledged the failures of the compliance strategy during the hearing, but added that there is a “culture of the past that does not exist today.”

Steiner noted: “I think we’ve addressed that cultural change within The Star and our culture like that is a vestige of the past.”

During the inquiry, The Star also admitted that it wasn’t entirely truthful with Queensland regulators when it changed a policy in order to conceal AU$55m (US$38.4m) in prohibited gambling transactions from a Chinese bank.

The operator changed its financial transaction rules in 2016 to conceal the practice, whereby it allowed China UnionPay cardholders to withdraw cash to bet at its Brisbane and Gold Coast casinos, but recorded such transactions as hotel purchases with National Australia Bank.

Using debit cards for gambling is not illegal in the state, but it is prohibited by the Chinese lender.


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