The Queensland Government has given The Star Entertainment Group a six-month extension to demonstrate its fitness to operate the Queen’s Wharf property in Brisbane and its existing Gold Coast casinos. This decision comes in the wake of a AU$100 million fine imposed on Star Entertainment in December 2020, following a 2021 investigation that revealed significant shortcomings within the company. Originally granted a one-year period to showcase its suitability as a responsible casino operator, the deadline was set to expire soon. However, the company now has until May 31, 2024, to validate its legitimacy in managing these properties.
Star Entertainment has officially informed the Australian Stock Exchange that Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath has approved its comprehensive 640-point remediation plan. Non-compliance with this plan could lead to severe consequences for the company, including a potential suspension of its gaming license and fines reaching up to AU$5 million.
Yvette D’Ath expressed cautious optimism, stating, "There is certainly evidence that they are changing from the top down, but it is still very early days. This remediation plan is really the start of their work, not the end; this is the start. The remediation plan has taken many months to develop and will really drive reforms I now expect to see coming out of there."
In addition to the extension, the government has prolonged the appointment of special manager Nicholas Weeks for another year. Weeks, who oversees Star's operations in New South Wales, was appointed by the NSW Independent Casino Commission. D’Ath justified this extension by saying, "I think it would be way too early to not have a special manager overseeing this process. Because this remediation plan has only just been approved, I want to give it time to be implemented."
Star Entertainment Group's Chief Executive and Managing Director, Robbie Cooke, emphasized the importance of the extension in their path to regain suitability in Queensland. Cooke acknowledged the need for rigorous implementation of the Remediation Plan, stating, "It’s an important step on our path to returning to suitability in Queensland and will track and hold us accountable throughout the multi-year program we are committed to delivering. At the same time, we are fully aware that successful implementation of the Remediation Plan will require the utmost rigour and discipline."
Cooke further emphasized the company's commitment to rebuilding trust and confidence among stakeholders and communities, recognizing that holding casino licenses is a privilege, not a right.
By fLEXI tEAM