Experts Want OLGR To Be Included In Star Entertainment Investigation
- There are calls for the Queensland government to broaden the scope of the ongoing public inquiry into Star Entertainment
- Insiders say the state’s gambling regulator must be included in the investigation
- The Commission will soon release its final report on the inquiry
The Queensland government is under mounting pressure to broaden the scope of its ongoing public inquiry into the Star Entertainment Group, with insiders saying the probe is not comprehensive enough and has so far failed to dive deep into the issues at hand.
Scope Must be Broadened
Concerns have been raised as to why the state’s gambling regulator was not included in the investigation when it was primarily involved in the running of the state’s gambling regulatory system. There are now calls to also put the Office of Gaming and Liquor Regulation (OLGR) under scrutiny to find out whether the agency had also committed failings that allowed the Star to carry out its illegal practices.
Over the past few days, Star executives have provided sworn evidence to the public inquiry which brought to light serious breaches in terms of preventing money laundering, along with other violations.
The inquiry has heard that gamblers who had been banned from casinos in other states for having links with crime syndicates were lured into Star’s casinos in Brisbane and Gold Coast. The gambling giant also allowed Chinese nationals to use their China UnionPay cards for gambling purposes, which is prohibited under Chinese laws. It was recently revealed that around $55 million in China UnionPay gambling transactions were recorded by Star as hotel expenses.
The public hearings concluded this week and the commission of inquiry is set to publish its final report, but Queensland’s shadow attorney general Tim Nicolls believes the government should broaden the scope of the inquiry.
State Regulator Should Participate in the Public Inquiry
Casino consultant Ben Lee agrees with Nicolls, saying the Office of Gaming and Liquor Regulation must be required to participate in the inquiry to address any potential shortcomings in the regulatory system. The Macau-based industry veteran said many more questions have gone unanswered due to the limited scope of the investigation.
Gambling regulation expert David Green shares a similar sentiment and has raised questions over the short duration of the inquiry which he said was not able to examine in full all aspects involved, including Queensland’s regulatory environment.
Lee said state authorities should open up the scope if it’s really keen on addressing the issues and cleaning up the mess.
The Queensland government, headed by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, has also been urged to include in the public inquiry all Australian casinos in the state, not just the Star after an investigation has recently been launched into two venues in Townsville and Cairns over alleged illegal high-roller operations.