NSW Authority announces public hearings in The Star licence review

| By Marese O'Hagan
The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) has announced several public hearings in relation to its review of The Star Casino's suitability to hold a casino licence.

The hearings will form part of a review into the Star’s practices that began four weeks ago.

The review began after Adam Bell SC was appointed to conduct it by the ILGA.

The investigation will examine The Star’s compliance to the Casino Control Act 1992 and the Casino Control Regulation 2019, as well as compliance regarding licensing and legal agreements between The Star and the NSW Authority.

In part, the NSW Authority will focus on evidence given by The Star on August 4 2020 before the Bergin Inquiry into rival resort operator Crown Resorts. In this evidence, The Star stated that it was continuing to work with junket operators, which had been a major source of the investigation into Crown. Crown had been ordered to stop working with these businesses through the inquiry.

Bell advised the ILGA that the public hearings will focus on The Star’s administration and maintenance of anti-money laundering and anti-organised crime measures.

The hearings are expected to be held in March 2022, with a publicly available report published by the ILGA by 30 June 2022.

The last review of The Star and its practices took place in 2016, and was conducted by Jonathan Horton QC.

In May, Star proposed a merger with Crown Resorts, which would create a combined Aus$12.00bn (£6.71bn/€7.76bn/US$9.43bn) business operation. However, it was rivaled by a bid by private equity group Blackstone for Aus$8.02bn (£4.47bn/€5.21bn/US$6.19bn).

A New South Wales Casino inquiry into Crown resort in February found evidence of money laundering and criminal activity.

Last week, The Star denied claims that it had ignored a report from KPMG that focused on anti-money laundering an terrorist financing. Days prior, The Star branded media allegations of money-laundering as “misleading”.

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