Australia’s Star Entertainment has received its second AU$100m fine in as many months as part of a raft of disciplinary actions, following the findings of Queensland’s Gotterson Review and the Attorney-General’s determination of unsuitability.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said The Star’s and other interested parties’ responses to the show cause notices issued last month have been taken into consideration when determining appropriate disciplinary action.
“Queensland casinos must operate with integrity – and it is clear that there have been major failings by the Star group and its entities,” the Minister said. “Like many Queenslanders, I was appalled at the extent of the actions of The Star in welcoming excluded persons to their casinos and the exorbitant incentives on offer for questionable gamblers.
The Attorney said that following Governor in Council approval, The Star will be fined $100m to be paid over 12 months.
It will need to appoint an experienced independent special manager to monitor The Star’s operations in Queensland, with the cost to be recouped from the relevant casino.
The licenses of Treasury Brisbane and The Star Gold Coast’s will be suspended for a period of 90 days, the commencement of which is deferred until December 1 2023.
“The reason these significant penalties could be applied is due to recent reforms to the Act which passed in the Queensland Parliament in October,” the Attorney said. “And I can assure Queenslanders that The Star will be sent the bill for the cost of the special manager’s work.”
The Attorney-General also said that that the deferred commencement date of the licence suspensions will give The Star an opportunity to remediate its management and operations and get back to a position of suitability.
“Should The Star make satisfactory progress towards rectifying these issues, the special manager and I may determine to postpone or rescind the suspension of licences. Mr Nicholas Weeks will be appointed as the special manager. He was also appointed by the Independent Casino Commission (ICC) to oversee The Star’s operations in New South Wales,” the Minister said.
“Having a special manager that monitors the operations of The Star in both states will ensure they will be looked at as one operating entity and provide consistency across jurisdictions.
“It’s also important that we have a person on the ground here in Queensland, which is why Ms Terri Hamilton will be the Queensland Manager Assisting, and will join Mr Weeks’ very skilled and capable team,” she said.
Mr Nicholas Weeks brings more than 20 years experience in corporate law, governance, risk and integrity, and he has held the positions of COO and Head of Integrity at National Rugby League.
Mr Weeks was also appointed the Executive General Manager of Transformation and Regulatory Response at Crown Resorts following the publication of the Bergin Report in early 2021.
Ms Terri Hamilton is currently the deputy chair of the Queensland Portable Long Service Leave Authority and Chair of its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.
Admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1985, Ms Hamilton has a wealth of experience in the regulated financial services industry. This includes leading the risk, compliance and governance teams at Sunsuper, and as their anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing officer.
New South Wales Independent Casino Commission Chief Commissioner Philip Crawford said Mr Weeks’ appointment was a sensible approach.
“Installing Mr Weeks as Queensland’s special manager will underscore collaboration with our Queensland regulatory counterparts,” Mr Crawford said. “This will ensure The Star acts consistently in compliance with its obligations – no matter which state they operate in.”
The Attorney said she expects The Star to make every effort to remediate and achieve suitability.
“This is an opportunity for The Star to return to suitability, however they have a long way to go,” she said. “If relevant entities do not take significant steps to improve their operations, we will not hesitate to take further action.”