Australian casino giant Star Entertainment has faced an AU$140,000 fine plus court costs for violating casino regulations in Queensland by illegally helping casino patrons use their credit cards to gamble.
Earlier today, the company pleaded guilty to a total of 11 charges in Brisbane magistrates court.
Seven of these charges were associated with sections of Queensland’s casino laws, under which the purchase of gambling chips with a credit card is currently not allowed. However, the investigation into Star Entertainment’s operations found that a number of casino patrons were able to purchase chips on credit at the operator’s Treasury casino in Brisbane and the Star Gold Coast casino in 2017, 2018, and 2022. The court heard that the amount of money in chips the patrons were eventually able to purchase was significant, with one of the patrons receiving chips worth a total of AU$20,000.
The other charges faced by the casino were associated with some promotional materials being sent to patrons who have decided to ban themselves from gambling in February 2022. As previously reported by Casino Guardian, four people, including two patrons who have registered themselves on a self-exclusion scheme due to compulsive gambling behaviour, were mistakenly targeted with the promotional material of Star Entertainment.
After finding out about the error with the promotional material, the Australian casino giant rolled out an internal audit of its operations. As a result of the investigation, it found the illegal credit card gambling chip purchases mentioned above.
Self-Reporting the Violations Was Considered a Significant Mitigating Factor, Magistrate Says
Star Entertainment faced a maximum monetary penalty of more than AU$1 million after it reach out to the competent authorities to report the offences itself.
Magistrate Shane Elliott noted that all the charges were somehow linked to some elements of human error. He shared that it was not a situation involving systemic problems with the casino operator or intentional violations of Queensland’s Casino Control Act. Magistrate Elliott noted that the fact that the gambling company decided to self-report all the offences played a significant role as a mitigating factor in sentencing and confirmed that a thorough internal audit had been completed by Star Entertainment since the offences. The company also brought amendments to all of its procedures in order to make sure similar errors and breaches did not occur again.
The Australian casino behemoth was ordered to pay legal costs amounting to AU$3,250.
The monetary penalty that the company faced earlier today comes only a few months after the operator suffered another financial blow.
Back in October 2022, the gambling regulator of New South Wales suspended the operating permit of Star Entertainment’s Sydney casino, slapping the operator with a record AU$100-million penalty after an investigation found that the company had permitted money laundering practices to penetrate private rooms. The inquiry also identified numerous breaches of compliance rules.
A similar review into the company’s operations took place in Queensland and saw the Australian gambling giant fined AU$100 million in December 2022, with the competent regulator concluding that Star Entertainment was unsuitable to hold any of the two casino operating permits in the state. An investigation found that Star Entertainment neglected its responsible gambling and anti-money laundering obligations and also deliberately misled the local regulatory body as it was more focused on profit than compliance.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.