Queensland announces independent inquiry into Star Entertainment

By Mia Chapman Updated
Details emerge of Queensland’s review in Star casinos

Amid the turmoil of an inquiry into its casino licence in Sydney and being found unsuitable to hold it, Star Entertainment will soon be subject to similar scrutiny in Queensland.

The ABC reports that an independent review has been announced into Star Entertainment’s casino licences in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Queensland’s Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said an independent review would be launched.

“The Government takes the allegations of money laundering and integrity issues very seriously,” she said.

“Investigations by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation into The Star are ongoing, and they are continuing to work with the Queensland Police and AUSTRAC.

“There will also be an independent expert review into the suitability of The Star to keep its casino licence.”

Ms Fentimen said cabinet would consider the terms of reference to determine exactly what the review would look into.

She also ensured measures would be taken to keep Queensland’s casinos open if the inquiry discovers improper practices, like granting provisional licences.

“I’m not going to pre-empt any of the findings of a review, but even if a casino is found to not be suitable there are things we can put in place provisionally to make sure they do meet all the expectations of the regulator and the community,” Ms Fentiman said.

Queensland inquiry follows NSW probe

The inquiry comes after allegations of money laundering and fraudulent activity at Star Entertainment’s venues in NSW.

Star Entertainment is currently building its $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf development in Brisbane which is expected to open in the first half of 2023.

The state opposition has supported the review but has called for it to incorporate public hearings.

“The extraordinary allegations aired during the NSW gaming regulator’s inquiry mean legislative questions are worthy of being asked here in Queensland,” Shadow Treasurer David Janetzki said.

“This must be an independent and open inquiry with public hearings to guarantee we get to the truth.

“Queenslanders need to be certain that Queen’s Wharf is built on the strongest foundations of integrity.”

Shadow Minister for Integrity in Government Fiona Simpson said the opposition was disappointed the review was not announced sooner.

“It beggars belief that the state government in Queensland didn’t know there was a problem here as well,” she said.

“It’s so important that this inquiry is transparent, it gets to the bottom of what’s been going on, but it is disappointing that it’s taken so long before there’s even been a starting point here in Queensland.”

NSW inquiry delivers scathing closing remarks to Star

The closing remarks delivered at the NSW inquiry into Star in late May were scathing of the casino’s procedures.

Several top executives resigned over the course of the inquiry, which heard allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal infiltration at the casino.

The outcome of the NSW inquiry is due to be handed down at the end of the month.

Ms Fentiman said the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulator and Queensland police have already been conducting investigations following allegations emerged about Star’s activities in NSW.

“We’re intending to build on what’s happening in NSW,” Ms Fentiman said.

“OLGR have now got to the point in their investigations where they do think that we do need an independent expert review to look at the ongoing suitability of Star to hold a casino licence in Queensland.”

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