In Australia, the New South Wales Independent Liquor And Gaming Authority has found that The Star Entertainment Group Limited is suitable to continue operating the nation’s second largest casino despite earlier allegations that the firm had been under-reporting incidents of violence to police.
According to a report from hotel, liquor, bar and club news service The Shout, the regulator’s determination was written by Jonathan Horton QC and came as part of its five-yearly review of The Star Sydney, which overlooks Darling Harbour near the center of Sydney.
“The Star [Sydney] has no business association, so far as I have been able to ascertain, with a person or body that is not of good repute or which has undesirable or unsatisfactory financial sources,” wrote Horton. “It has systems and practices that reasonably ensure the honest conduct of gambling and the minimization of harm to the public.”
Also the firm behind The Treasury Casino And Hotel in Brisbane as well as Queensland’s Jupiters Hotel And Casino Gold Coast, The Star Entertainment Group Limited had earlier faced accusations that it had been under-reporting incidents of assault in the wake of the early-2014 introduction of Sydney’s controversial alcohol lockout laws.
“Suggestions were made that The Star [Sydney] had under-reported violent incidents to police and internally and that figures made public as to the occurrence of violence there presented a picture more favorable than is actually the case,” wrote Horton. “I investigated these claims, including by convening an oral hearing and compelling the attendance of persons to give evidence.”
Although Horton wrote that improvements needed to be made in order to “overcome shortcomings” in the Sydney facility’s internal reporting of such occurrences with further steps taken to ensure police are made “aware of all violent incidents”, he found that these inadequacies were “not ones that appear materially to have affected the publicly-reported figures of violent incidents at or near The Star [Sydney]”.
“The public interest, so far as I am capable of assessing it, favors the continuation of The Star [Sydney’s] license,” wrote Horton. “The Star [Sydney], apart from being, so far as I could ascertain, well run, appears to be resistant to criminal influence. It meets, to some extent at least, demand from overseas visitors who wish to gamble and to stay at, visit and dine in the facilities that the casino offers and is proposing to develop further. Those activities result in the payment to government as taxes and levies of some hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The Star Entertainment Group Limited last week unveiled plans for a new six-star hotel tower for its New South Wales casino with the $375 million project reportedly due to be open for business complete with 150 residences by late-2020.
“The Star [Entertainment Group Limited] notes the finding that it’s in the public interest for the casino license to continue in force,” read a statement from Brisbane-based The Star Entertainment Group Limited. “We also welcome key conclusions that The Star [Sydney] is resilient to infiltration by criminal influences, has a history of cooperation with law enforcement agencies and that responsible gambling is managed satisfactorily. We look forward to continue working closely with the New South Wales Police Force and with the regulator on recommendations within the report.”