2 November 2023

Queensland Government introduces reforms to reduce gambling harm and money-laundering following Star Casinos inquiry

| James Day
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The Star Casino, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and Broadbeach skyline at sunset from an aerial view on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia

Shareholders of Star Entertainment have also launched a class action against the company as a result of it failing to inform them of its links between organised crime and money laundering. Photo: Darren Tierney.

Following the devastating findings of the Gotterson inquiry into Star Casino’s Queensland operations, the Palaszczuk government has introduced another set of reforms to improve the integrity and regulatory scrutiny of the state’s gambling industry.

The new reforms will provide the means for the government to limit gambling harm and fight money laundering in line with all 12 of the recommendations listed in last year’s Review of the Queensland Operations of the Star Entertainment Group.

The Honourable Robert Gotterson AO KC conducted the investigation and found Star’s two casinos in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast had neglected their duties under the licences granted to them by the state, for which they were later fined $100 million in December 2022.

“These reforms will continue to modernise Queensland’s gambling and casino laws to ensure they remain effective now and into the future,” Queensland’s Attorney-General the Honourable Yvette D’Ath said.

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Among the reforms set out in the Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 are restrictions on the use of cash and required pre-commitment to breaks in play and limits on expenditure. The bill will also require casinos to embrace newer technology and larger penalties for violations.

“The new laws will ensure organisations associated with Queensland casinos are subject to inquiries every five years,” the Attorney-General said.

“This will assist in determining the ongoing suitability of those organisations.

“Casino executives will be required to undertake particular duties in relation to the operation of a casino, and there will be significant personal penalties for non-compliance.

“There will also be a supervision levy imposed on casino licensees so that the costs of regulating casinos will not be passed onto taxpayers.”

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Star Entertainment was recently fined another $140,000 in August for helping gamblers banned from its casino in Sydney use their credit cards at its facilities in Queensland. Chief executive Robbie Cooke said the company suffered a loss of $2.44 billion largely due to the loss in value of its Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos.

As part of ongoing structural changes to its management and board, the company recently promoted Jessica Mellor from chief operating officer to chief executive of its Gold Coast casino. However, the company has yet to appoint anyone for the same position at its operations in Brisbane and Sydney.

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