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Casino operator fined $100m

Star Entertainment’s Sydney casino has been fined $100 million and had its licence suspended after an inquiry found numerous breaches including lying to banks and money-laundering.

Photo: AAP/James Gourley

Photo: AAP/James Gourley

Independent Casino Commission Chief Commissioner Philip Crawford announced the hefty penalty on Monday, saying the entertainment venue at Pyrmont could remain open – but without gaming.

“We’ve decided to impose a fine of $100 million on The Star, and secondly, to suspend the Star’s casino licence,” he said.

The suspension is effective from Friday morning.

The ICC last month released a scathing report, which found The Star was unfit to hold a casino licence after an inquiry identified a litany of issues – including a notorious gang-linked junket operator running an illicit cage at the casino and that it broke rules on Chinese debit cards.

“The Star Casino will remain open and all staff will remain employed,” Crawford said.

“The Star’s licence is suspended and the manager will hold a casino licence.”

Crawford said he was not satisfied with Star’s reform plan.

“The remediation plan contained in the Star’s submission did not make much sense without the leadership of a competent and experienced CEO,”  he said.

“Star’s new CEO, Robbie Cooke, commences at Star today. We have met with Mr Cook and he presents to us as someone who is absolutely capable of providing the strong leadership needed at the Star.”

Cooke has vowed to rehabilitate the embattled gambling and entertainment company.

“We need to be putting compliance at the top of the list and if you do that, it protects shareholder value,” he said last week.

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“There’s definitely some challenges in the business,” he said.

Cooke vowed that “compliance will be put ahead of profits” under his leadership, adding that “cultural change won’t happen overnight”.

“My big focus to deal with those issues is my commitment to our regulators, to our government partners, to our 75,000 shareholders, 8000 team members and the community at large to rebuild trust.”

-AAP

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