The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) will hold public hearings starting in March 2022 as part of a regular review into The Star Sydney and whether it remains suitable to hold a casino licence.
The hearings follow recent Australian media reports alleging Star had enabled suspected money laundering, organized crime, fraud and foreign interference by cultivating high-roller gamblers with links to organized crime while ignoring red flags over the source of client funds.
Star has denied a number of allegations contained within those media reports and described them as “misleading”.
ILGA said Tuesday that its regular review into The Star Sydney, which is being conducted by Adam Bell SC, began four weeks ago to consider how effectively The Star is complying with its statutory obligations and whether it remains suitable to hold a casino licence.
However, in the wake of the media reports, “Mr Bell has advised ILGA that he considers it in the public’s interest to hold public hearings on matters including but not limited to The Star’s maintenance and administration of systems to counter money laundering and infiltration by organised crime.”
ILGA said it is “fully supportive of Mr Bell’s decision,” with hearings expected to be held in March 2022. A publicly available report will be due to be handed to ILGA by 30 June 2022.
An inquiry into fellow casino operator Crown Resorts conducted late last year following similar media allegations ultimately found Crown unsuitable to retain its NSW casino license for Crown Sydney, although the company and ILGA are currently working together to address issues of concern with Crown expected to achieve suitability in the coming months.