November 29, 2022

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The Queensland state government has declared Star Entertainment Group unsuitable to hold a casino license for its Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos, although the operator will be given an opportunity to return to suitability rather than having its license revoked.

The decision to find Star unsuitable follows completion of a review into Star’s Queensland operations last month, with a report from Robert Gotterson AO, who conducted the review, made public on Thursday morning.

It also comes after a similar review in NSW recommended Star be found unsuitable to retain its casino license for The Star Sydney.

In releasing the report to the public, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the government would adopt all 12 recommendations contained within the report, which largely mirror those imposed on Victoria’s one and only casino Crown Melbourne. Crown was found unsuitable to hold its Victoria casino license in October 2021, along with similar findings in NSW for Crown Sydney and in Western Australia for Crown Perth.

“Considering the serious and concerning findings of the Gotterson Review and his advice regarding suitability, I have formed the view that The Star is unsuitable to hold a licence in Queensland,” Fentinan said.

“In accordance with the legislation, once a formal determination of unsuitability is made, The Star will be given the opportunity to respond to that finding through a show cause process.

“Following the show cause process, a range of remedial actions will be available to Government, including fines, suspending or cancelling licenses, and as recommended by Mr Gotterson, appointing a special manager, as has been done in Victoria.”

As well as the appointment of a special manager to oversee Star’s remediation efforts, the Queensland government said it will institute periodic investigations into the suitability of all Queensland casinos to be paid for by the casino; require casino licensees to pay a supervision levy as a condition of their licence; implement a mandatory Code of Conduct for Safer Gambling with significant fines for non-compliance; and implement a number of recommendations to improve gambling harm minimization, including mandatory carded play and limits on cash transactions.

The government will also raise the maximum penalty that can be imposed on a casino to a proposed AU$100 million (US$65 million).

However, unlike both NSW and Queensland, it has found no “sufficient justification” to fundamentally change the structure of the Queensland regulator.

“Making sure Queensland casinos operate lawfully is a priority for the Government,” Fentinan said. “That’s why I am pleased to announce that the [Queensland] Government supports in principle all recommendations of this review.”

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