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Star Entertainment interim chair sends message of hope

3 min. read

Australia's Sydney.

Star Entertainment Group Ltd. is facing what could be the loss or suspension of its Sydney Casino license, and this could have serious implications for the overall business. The inquiry into the company has found out that the property maintained lax anti-money laundering controls and that it allowed overseas visitors to come to the property and escape China’s capital controls, Bloomberg reported.

Now, though, the company wants to send a message of hope and strength with the Group Interim Chairman Ben Heap addressing shareholders, guests, and team members. Heap said that he had spent considerable time poring over the report submitted by Adam Bell SC and the implications for the Sydney business.

It was a difficult reading Heap acquiesced and said that the Group acknowledged its findings and recommendations. He also agreed to the public criticism that came from NSW Independent Casino Commission Chief Commissioner Philip Crawford. Heap said that in a word, Star Sydney has fallen short of expectations of what holding a casino license entails – put simply, the Group had not held up to expectations.

However, these findings can help the Group’s transformative experience forward. Heap spoke about a "cultural transformation" in his letter, and he assured that robust governance, greater accountability, and more transparency will once again be part of the experience. He added that the goal from this point on for the company would be to earn back regulatory and public trust and work on addressing any lingering issues.

The Group is already working on what it internally refers to as Renewal Plan which should help guide the company and the Star Sydney property back to gaining public trust and regulatory approval. Heap added that the Renewal Plan will seek to not only fix the issues Bell SC’s report flagged, but also the root causes behind those issues.

The initiative is a multi-year plan that will result in Star Sydney becoming a safe and hospitable environment for casino patrons. Heap said that the Group is separating its Risk and Legal Functions and hiring a new Chief Risk Officer as well as appointing an Independent Monitor to report on the progress the Group makes.

Heap also said that the Group will work closely with the NSW Independent Casino Commission to ensure that Star Sydney and all Group properties meet the necessary industry benchmarks. In the meantime, the fate of Star Sydney remains in the Casino Commission’s hands which will decide on what the best course of action is.

In the case of the Crown Resorts property, regulators recommended two-year monitoring to be conducted at the end of which period it would be decided whether Crown can operate the property or forfeit its license altogether.

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19 Sep 2022
3 min. read
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