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Asia round-up: The Star struggles to get fit & Vietnam's local casino

The Star Entertainment Group has been found unfit to hold a casino licence for its Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos by the Queensland State Government.

The Star unfit for Queensland casino licence

The Star Entertainment Group has been found unfit to hold a casino licence for its Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos by the Queensland State Government.

The Queensland review highlighted issues related to the operator’s business, with a “one-eyed focus” on profit causing The Star to seriously neglect its anti-money laundering and responsible gaming duties. These charges mean the operator has been deemed to have deliberately misled the casino regulator.

The review was undertaken by former Judge Robert Gotterson, who made an open finding on whether the company was a suitable licence holder. However, Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the operator was unfit to run its Queensland venues.

“We have in black and white some damning findings about how this company has operated, how they dealt with the regulator and their obligations to act in the public interest clearly were not taken seriously,” said Fentiman.

“These are damning findings and the government will now act.”

The Star will be issued with a show-cause notice and given 21 days to either respond to the finding or face penalties. Repercussions for The Star could include fines and having its licence either suspended or cancelled.

Meanwhile, the Government will temporarily appoint a special manager to oversee The Star Gold Coast and Brisbane Treasury.

A statement from The Star read: “The Star is currently considering the report and the matters raised by Gotterson and will continue to work cooperatively with the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.”

Fentiman’s findings also have an impact on The Star’s Queen’s Wharf casino and resort development in Brisbane, which is due to open next year. She commented: “A finding of unsuitability does, of course, have implications for the casino licence for Queens Wharf.

“But there is still a show-cause process to go through, and then a range of options available to government.”

Vietnam province asks Government to extend pilot scheme at Corona Resort

The Kien Gang province of Vietnam has asked the country’s Ministry of Finance to extend the pilot scheme used at Corona Resort and Casino by three years.

Located on the island of Phu Quoc, Corona Resort and Casino allows certain locals to gamble in its casinos, despite Vietnam operating a foreign-player-only approach to casino entry.

Local players must meet certain economical qualifications in order to gamble at the casino, showing proof of funds among other financial requirements.

The pilot scheme is set to come to an end by the close of 2022 unless the provincial government of Kien Gang’s bid to have the pilot scheme extended is successful.

Should the local province be granted an extension to the pilot scheme, the Corona Resort and Casino will remain open to local gamers until 7 January 2022.

The local player scheme at Corona Resort and Casino has been in place since it opened in January 2019; its launch marked the start of the pilot scheme.

The resort has – according to Vietnam News Agency – created 1,122 local jobs and 32 roles for foreigners. The Corona Resort and Casino has supposedly attracted over 240,000 visitors, 156,000 of which were Vietnamese.

A reported VND1.7trn ($72.3m) has been generated in local tax income since the casino launched. It's worth noting that this figure accounts for periods of closure brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected casino visitation worldwide.


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