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Asia round-up: The Star clings on; casino concerns & Resorts World Genting

The Star Entertainment Group says it is willing to do “whatever necessary” to hold onto its flagship casino licence.

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Accepting the findings of an inquiry that stated the operator was unfit to hold a licence in Sydney, The Star said it has developed a remediation plan, outlining actions to address the failings mentioned in the inquiry report, in a bid to run the casino under strict supervision. 

The inquiry, led by Adam Bell SC, found evidence of an extensive compliance breakdown that led to money laundering, large-scale fraud and even criminal infiltration. The New South Wales state gambling regulator, meanwhile, identified “systemic governance, risk and cultural failures” at the group’s Sydney casino. 

In an announcement from new Interim Executive Chairman Ben Heap, who was appointed earlier this week following the resignation of Acting CEO Geoff Hogg, the operator said its remediation plan will involve a “multi-year transformation of the governance, accountability and capabilities, culture, and risk and compliance management practices of the organisation.” 

“We intend to do whatever is necessary, in consultation with NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC), to restore The Star Sydney to suitability” The Star, Official Statement

The Star added: “We intend to do whatever is necessary, in consultation with NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC), to restore The Star Sydney to suitability."   

Problem gambling safety advocates concerned with Christchurch Casino

Christchurch Casino’s move to launch an online casino in Malta has disappointed problem gambling safety advocates in New Zealand. 

The new offshore subsidiary, to be known as Limited, is expected to launch before the end of the year. Chairperson Bruce Robertson said it would partner with a licensed international gaming company, with the decision coming amid the growth in online casinos at the expense of land-based casinos. 

“It can be done 24/7 and in secret. There’s unlikely to be supervision there or people who can keep an eye on whether someone is gambling for a long time” Maria Bellringer, Associate Professor at the Auckland University of Technology’s Gambling and Addictions Research Centre

Only Lotto NZ and Tab are legally allowed to offer online gambling in New Zealand, but it is legal for New Zealanders to gamble on offshore websites. As a subsidiary company, would, however, not be allowed to advertise in New Zealand under current legislation. 

Robertson noted that the online site would involve robust responsible gambling safeguards, would pay goods and services tax (GST) and contribute to Christchurch Casino’s charitable trust. 

Resorts World Genting visitor volume rises to 9.9 million for H1 2022 

Visitor volumes at Resorts World Genting have risen exceptionally for the first half of 2022.  

In H1 2021, visitation to Malaysia’s only casino complex stood at 2.1 million people but has risen to 9.9 million the following year. This represents a 371% rise for H1 2022. 

Although the growth is significant, increase visitation to Resorts World Genting is largely due to the cessation of Covid-19 social distancing measures, and the lifting of travel bans and quarantine periods.  

As a result of the operator’s improved visitation, the entertainment destination is expected to commission three new rides at its recently opened SkyWorlds theme park.

Analyst: China, Macau epitomise the spirit of “One Country, Two Systems”

Following a rise in Macau's stocks after eVisas were reintroduced, interest in the market has risen. 

Ronald Chan, Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Chartwell Capital in Hong Kong, and a listing committee member of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange sent a note to Gambling Insider about the most recent developments in Macau. 

He said: “I think this is a good start. While China continues with the dynamic zero-Covid-19 policy, both Macau and Hong Kong are opening up and introducing their own policies to jumpstart the economy. This, again, showcases the spirit of 'One Country, Two Systems' since the handover."

Read more here. 

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