Gamblers can still repeat the Sydney Star and employees keep their jobs after the regulator hit the casino with a licensing suspension and a fine, but allowed to remain in operation. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The star takes more punishment
Turned out to be unsuitable for a casino license in Queensland earlier this month, the rope-based Star Entertainment Group took another person to the chin, this time from the New South Wales (NSW) casino industry regulator.
Star fined $100 million and licensing suspended
The New South Wales Independent Casino Commission (NICC) on Monday fined Sydney’s Stars Casino a record A$100 million (US$62 million) and suspended its licence. Australian journalist Daniel Sutton shared the news via Twitter about the suspension of Star Sydney’s license from 9am on Friday:
The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has suspended trading in Star common stocks after the gambling and entertainment giant sent an email request to ASX on Monday warning: “The securities may be trading in an uninformed market.”
The NICC report published in August exposed “grave irregularities” in the Sydney Star after it instigated a public investigation in the wake of media allegations of money laundering, fraud and the casino’s links to organized crime.
However, the news is brighter for the staff of Stars Sydney and the gamblers who frequent the property in Pyrmont. Despite the fine and suspension, the NICC said casino operations may continue, albeit under significant circumstances.
While the NICC has suspended the Sydney casino’s license, after it was found unsuitable to hold a license last month, this is not a complete revocation. Alternatively, the Sydney Star can continue to operate under a license held by a director appointed by the NICC.
To this end, NICC has appointed Nicholas Weeks as Director of Wexsted Advisors. Weeks will dominate Star Sydney starting at 9am on October 21 for at least 90 days.
One of the primary considerations behind allowing the NICC to allow the Star Sydney to remain operational and open to gambling has been the well-being of its employees. NICC President Philip Crawford said Monday that “thousands of Star employees lost their jobs overnight.”
Crawford said that many of Starr’s 10,000 employees depend on the income “to pay their mortgages and raise their children.”
Another factor that favored Starr remaining in business was her desire to reform under new CEO Robbie Cook after Matt Becker left the same position in March. Under Cook’s leadership, the Sydney Star has “expressed remorse and wants to work with us,” Crawford said.
In the past, they were very hostile.”
“This is a big change. In the past, they were very hostile and did not treat the regulator with the respect he should have,” he added.
However, despite the $100 million penalty – the maximum fine allowed and the largest ever by the NICC – Watchman Charles Livingston, a gaming researcher at Monash University, was quoted as saying that the star is fine “It is not enough to discourage this kind of behaviour.”