An inquiry into the suitability of The Star Sydney to retain its NSW casino license has claimed its first major casualty with Matt Bekier stepping down as Star Entertainment Group’s Managing Director and CEO.
His departure comes in the wake of serious compliance concerns raised last week during public hearings, which found that Star had failed to adequately address concerns around its relationship with junkets and had misled the state’s gaming regulator.
In a Monday morning ASX filing, Star said Bekier “informed the Board that as Managing Director and CEO he is accountable for the effectiveness and adequacy of the company’s processes, policies, people and culture.
“Mr Bekier said the right thing to do was for him to take responsibility” and “will step down from the Board immediately.”
Bekier will “work with the Board to transition his executive responsibilities in an orderly manner,” it added, with a final departure date not yet set.
The departure of Bekier, last year named at number 14 on Inside Asian Gaming’s Power 50 list, mirrors the fallout from recent inquiries into fellow Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, which saw 10 of its 11 board members stand down.
Crown was also found unsuitable to hold casino licenses in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia but in all three cases has been given an opportunity to return to suitability, including via refreshment of its Board of Directors and executive leadership team.
The public hearings into The Star Sydney follow Australian media reports aired late last year 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 had previously described those reports as “misleading”.