A review of the Star casinos in Queensland has emerged
The Queensland star casinos yet again under investigation
In an investigation into The Star’s two Queensland casinos, Justice Robert Gotterson AO has been appointed.
Like a NSW inquiry weighing evidence about the company’s suitability for a license in Sydney, the Brisbane Times reports the inquiry will be able to question Star employees directly and take submissions.
It will examine the casinos’ efforts to avoid money laundering, how they manage VIP patrons, how they help Chinese nationals bypass restrictions on gambling and how they minimise harm to patrons.
Despite not limiting its scope, the terms of reference indicate it can seek evidence that has been gleaned from the NSW review while not requiring it to inquire into particular issues addressed by that review.
A significant concern has been expressed during the NSW public hearings with regards to The Star Sydney’s operations as well as, given the shared governance and operational arrangements that exist across Star Group entities, the conduct of Star Group entities in general.
Report to be delivered by September 30th
By September 30, less than a month after the deadline for the final NSW report, Jonathan Horton QC will assist the inquiry and report to Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman.
In addition to determining whether Star’s operations in the state comply with the law, whether Star is qualified to hold the Brisbane and Gold Coast casino licences, and if any additional steps can be taken to “restore public confidence in casino operations” in light of recent inquiries finding rival crown unfit to hold state licences.
In a later statement, shadow attorney-general Tim Nicholls said he believed the terms of reference did not go far enough to address the role of unions, lobbyists and the government.
Nicolls said he would write Gotterson asking for the scope to be widened and the use of public hearings as the primary method of gathering information to be expanded.
Star Resorts fought back against some proposed measures to tighten casino regulation in the state, including new financial penalties for past violations, in a recent submission seeking to distance its Queensland sites from those in NSW.
It has been at least eight months since Queensland police and other law enforcement agencies began investigating.
In mid-2023, Brisbane’s Queen’s Wharf development is set to open and Fentiman said Star could anchor the $3.6 billion project.
Earlier this summer, Tyro Payments announced that its next chief executive would be Robbie Cooke, in an effort to “restore confidence”.
After the NSW inquiry exposed the failures of the group, Matt Bekier and John O’Neill both resigned.
Attorneys assisting the inquiry argued that Star’s casino licence should not be granted before it addressed the company’s internal culture and reluctance to admit wrongdoing.
The Queensland and NSW casinos have deposited proceeds of crime
It was discovered that a man traveled to some of Australia’s biggest casinos with stacks of cash strapped to his body or hidden in hidden boxes. The funds, worth more than $1 million, had been taken from the proceeds of crime and deposited in casinos.
AFP launched an investigation after being alerted to Gimenez Barbosa’s behavior in casinos in Queensland and New South Wales, as reported by the Brisbane Times in February.
In addition to serving one year in prison, Barbosa will be eligible for parole after completing six years in prison.
Among Barbosa’s good attributes, Judge Helen Bowskill noted that he lacks any other criminal history, had a good character and co-operated with detectives throughout the investigation.
Federal officers executed a search warrant on December 11, 2018, and arrested Barbosa.
Police began investigating the casino deposits in August 2018, when AFP was notified that the Star Casino in Sydney, the Gold Coast, and Treasury Casino in Brisbane had received large deposits.