Lisa Cheban | 06 September, 2023 12:17 | Last update on: 06 September, 2023 12:17
Star Entertainment, a leading multibillion-dollar entertainment company in Australia, has been fined $140,000 for assisting its customers in unlawfully using credit cards. This was after the troubled casino operator admitted being guilty of 11 offences in front of Brisbane magistrates court on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.
The company was found guilty of breaching Queensland casino regulations that criminalize using credit cards to purchase gambling chips. The court was informed that some patrons could buy chips at the Star Gold Coast and Treasury Casino in Brisbane in 2017, 2018, and 2022 using their credit cards.
It was revealed that the money used to purchase the chips on credit was quite significant, with one player buying chips worth $20,000.
Another accusation against Star Entertainment was sending promotional materials to self-excluded customers in February 2022. Of all the four who received the promotional messages, two of them are problem gamblers. However, the company defended itself, saying the players erroneously received these promotional materials.
Following the error, Star told the court that it conducted an internal investigation of its processes and, as a result, learned about the credit card chip sales. Interestingly, Star self-reported the offences, which would have resulted in a potential fine of more than $1 million if the government had discovered the shortcomings independently.
Thankfully for Star, Magistrate Shane Elliott concurred with them, saying there were elements of human error concerning all the charges.
He said: “It’s not a situation where there is systemic problems with the casino or flagrant breaches of the act (Queensland’s Casino Control Act). I accept that there is a possibility that the contraventions would not have been picked up but for that self-report.”
The magistrate also said that he was convinced Star had conducted a thorough audit of its systems and rectified all loopholes to prevent a reoccurrence of the situation. The judge stated: “These weren’t intentional breaches, they were oversights of staff.”
As a result of self-reporting the offences, the potential $1 million fine dropped to $140,000. In addition, the court directed Star to settle legal costs worth $3,250. There were no convictions in this case. According to the Guardian, Justine Russell, the stand-in COO of Treasury Casino, attended court sessions but didn’t speak to the media.
Wednesday’s fine is not the first time that Star has found itself in collision with the law in Australia. In October 2022, the New South Wales regulator revoked Star’s Sydney license and fined the company $100 million after discovering the casino had facilitated money in private rooms. The regulator accouse Star of multiple compliance failures.
Two months later, in December, another assessment in Queensland resulted in a $100 million fine for the company. Star’s two casino licenses in the state were also revoked. The investigation revealed that Star intentionally abandoned its responsibilities to combat money laundering and uphold responsible gambling practices.