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Star chamber: Investors run for the exits over casino corruption claims


Shares in casino operator Star Group fell almost 20 per cent on the market open this morning after the Nine Group reported claims of corruption.

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The company, which operates casinos in Brisbane, Sydney and the Gold Coast, including the massive Queen’s Wharf project, said “a number of assertions within the media reports” were misleading.

The allegations relate to conduct at the casinos similar to that which caused problems for Crown Resorts.

Among the allegations published in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and on 60 Minutes, were that during 2014 and 2018, Star Entertainment “allowed Chinese high-rollers to use special Chinese debit and credit cards to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars in funds from Star’s hotel properties in a manner which disguised gambling activity as hotel expenses”.

The claims also related to allegations Star has been enabling suspected money laundering, organised crime, large-scale fraud and foreign interference within its Australian casinos.

Nine also pointed to a report on Star by auditor KPMG which outlined apparent failings in Star’s anti-money laundering procedure.

When similar allegations were made against its competitor Crown, that company was found to be unsuitable to hold a gambling licence in NSW.

Star Group said this morning that it would take appropriate steps to address all allegations with relevant state and federal regulators and authorities.

Included in that is a review of the company’s Sydney casino by NSW regulators.

“The Star operates in a heavily regulated industry. We are subject to thorough and ongoing regulatory oversight including compliance checks and reviews across the company’s operations in NSW and Queensland,” it said.

“The Star also notes the recommendations of the Bergin inquiry which were supported by the NSW Government on August 18. These recommendations will impacts the regulation of casinos in NSW and are supported by Star.”

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