By Mike Cherney
SYDNEY–A New South Wales state inquiry into Star Entertainment Group Ltd.’s operation of its Sydney casino found the company isn’t suitable to hold a casino license, though the regulator has yet to decide what disciplinary action will be taken.
The NSW Independent Casino Commission said it will give Star an opportunity to respond. The finding doesn’t necessarily mean Star will need to give up the Sydney casino, as authorities could later deem that the company is suitable to run the casino if it makes certain changes.
Philip Crawford, chief commissioner of the regulator, said the report found that vast sums of cash evaded anti-money laundering protocols in numerous situations. The report also detailed cases of individual patrons exposed to gambling harms, he said.
“The report is, quite frankly, shocking,” he said. “It provides evidence of an extensive compliance breakdown in key areas of The Star’s business.”
Australian regulators have taken a harder line against casino operators recently, and recent reforms in New South Wales have strengthened oversight.
Star’s chief rival, Crown, was also found unsuitable to hold a casino license in various Australian states, but Crown has continued to operate the casinos after making changes. U.S. private-equity giant Blackstone completed a takeover of Crown earlier this year.
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