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NSW regulator suspends The Star Sydney’s casino license as special manager appointed

The casino license of Star Entertainment Group’s flagship IR, The Star Sydney, has been suspended with the property to instead run under the supervision of a special manager.

However, no time frame has been placed on the assignment period for the manager – named as Nicholas Weeks of Wexted Advisors – with the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) stating Monday that it would first need to determine whether Star’s failings can be rectified and whether it can achieve suitability.

In releasing its response to the findings of the recent Bell Report into The Star Sydney, the NICC said it would also fine the operator AU$100 million (US$62 million) – the largest fine ever imposed on any of Australia’s casinos and surpassing the AU$80 million (US$50 million) Crown Melbourne was fined for similar transgressions earlier this year.

It added that the appointment of Weeks as manager would allow The Star Sydney to remain operational while its license is suspended. The license suspension officially takes effect as of 21 October 2022.

“The NICC has resolved that it is no longer in the public interest that The Star should remain in control of that licence, and that The Star is not currently suitable to be the holder of the licence,” said NICC Chief Commissioner, Philip Crawford.

“The Star’s current board and executive understand the gravity of Bell’s findings. They have publicly apologized and acknowledged the serious wrongdoing that occurred, and they are willing to co-operate with the regulator.

“The Star’s public communications to shareholders and its submission to the NICC’s show cause notice have demonstrated genuine contrition and a desire to work openly and transparently with the NICC to try to preserve the licence and protect the many jobs that depend on it being operable.

“If it were not for The Star’s change in attitude and our belief that it is in the public interest to protect the thousands of jobs at risk, there might have been a different outcome.

Crawford added that he remained hopeful that incoming Star CEO Robbie Cooke could work successfully alongside Weeks to achieve suitability.

“The appointment of Mr Weeks will allow casino operations to continue and his primary focus will be to ensure a robust root cause analysis and review of the casino’s culture is undertaken,” he said.

“The appointment of a manager does not mean the NICC believes The Star is suitable to hold a casino licence.

“At this point the NICC believes there is a possibility The Star can undertake the reforms necessary to give the NICC confidence it can start a remediation process with a view to becoming suitable.”


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