ILGA Extends Star Sydney Review to End of August

In light of additional witnesses expected to add more insight into The Star Entertainment Group’s review of its Sydney casino, the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has extended the publication date of the report to the end of August. The expansion request was initiated by senior counsel Adam Bell, the head of the review. The Star responded that it will carry out its cooperation with the review.

Bell Needs More Time to Fully Comply With the Terms of Reference

The review is trying to establish the way in which The Star has been complying with its statutory obligations and whether its casino in Sydney is still suitable for a license. So far, a number of revelations have been made public by the review. The list includes allegations that The Star disguised A$900 million ($664.2 million) of transactions, along with a series of failed anti-money laundering policies and junket oversight issues. 

Junket arrangements refer to one or several individuals being introduced to casino operators by junket promoters in exchange for a commission from the operators. Junkets are usually responsible for a large part of the VIP revenue generated by the casino. They also act like banks, lending money to gamblers and collecting their debts.

The Star review that was originally mandated in September 2012 with June 30 as a due date is led by Adam Bell, a senior counsel (SC) who practices principally in commercial, administrative, and equity law. Bell, who is the SC who also assisted Bergin Inquiry into Crown Resorts, has been granted a two-month extension to 31 August. He needed the extra time to conclude all his discoveries and make sure they comply with the Terms of Reference. The respective terms present the scope of the review down to the smallest detail. 

Bell will need to establish whether the group has complied with its obligations under the Casino Control Act 1992 and the Casino Control Regulation 2019 and if it is still fit to continue operating the Sydney venue. He will also look into the presence of any “illegal and undesirable activities and people in the casino” and inquire about the way the group has managed and operated its bank accounts.

Slater and Gordon Filed a Class Action Lawsuit Against The Star

In March, Australian law firm Slater and Gordon decided to file a class-action lawsuit against The Star for false or misleading representations in regards to the group’s compliance with its legal obligations. The filing was made on behalf of investors seeking compensation for the shares they bought between 2016 and 2022.

Public hearings for Bell’s review started in mid-March, with testimonies leading to The Star Entertainment Group’s chief executive officer and managing director Matt Bekier giving notice that he will no longer be working for the group. ILGA’s chairperson Philip Crawford said Bell will benefit from the full support of the authority in his endeavor to examine the new witnesses.