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Australia – The Star ordered to pay $140,000 over credit card gambling

By - 2 August 2023

Australian casino operator Star Entertainment has been ordered to pay $140,000 in penalties following an investigation by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), which found it guilty of 11offences relating to the operation of its two Queensland casinos in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation has taken strong action against The Star with the casino operator entering a guilty plea in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to a number of offences in March this year. The Star was sentenced and ordered to pay a fine of $140,000 and court costs of $3,250. Seven of the charges relate to accepting credit wagers of more than $170,000 between 2017 and 2022.

The Brisbane Magistrates Court heard that a lack of adequate controls in relation to the EFTPOS machines meant customers could use their credit card to deposit significant amounts of money into their casino account, potentially allowing customers to gamble beyond their means.

The other four charges relate to The Star distributing promotional or advertising material about the casino in February 2022 to people they knew or should have known were excluded or banned from entering the casino.

The court heard that The Star had been warned by OLGR a number of times about similar conduct in the past. When imposing the penalty Magistrate Elliott had reached his conclusion based on the offending relating to staff oversight and that there was no intentional attempt to contravene legislation.

However, he also stated that it was concerning that there were prior warnings issued about material being sent to excluded persons and that the defendant has an obligation to the community that processes are in place to minimise harm.

This court outcome is on top of a $100m pecuniary penalty against the casino operator as a result of the Gotterson review into the Queensland operations of The Star Entertainment Group.

Last October, reforms to the Casino Control Act were made to strengthen the legislation to allow for increased fines and the appointment of a special manager to monitor the operations of the Star’s Queensland casinos.

The OLGR’s onsite inspectors completed 645 casino audits in the 2022-23 financial year reaffirming the government’s commitment to providing a safe and socially responsible gambling environment.

Yvette D’Ath, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, said: “The Palaszczuk Government expects all Queensland casinos to operate lawfully and ethically. Allowing credit betting and distributing promotional material to excluded persons are not acceptable ways for casinos to operate in Queensland. The authority to operate a casino is a privilege. In return, the community expects The Star, at an absolute minimum, to effectively control risks, such as gambling harm and money laundering.

“Ensuring public confidence in our casinos is a priority,” she added. “That’s why we will continue to strengthen and enforce our casino laws. The regulator is closely monitoring all casinos operating in Queensland and will take action if they fall short of their requirements.”

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