Queensland’s probe into The Star Entertainment Group’s Brisbane and Gold Coast casinos has finally got underway.
An initial public hearing has taken place to kick off the state’s external review, which follows a series of allegations linking The Star to criminal activity elsewhere in Australia.
To begin, former Court of Appeal Judge Robert Gotterson, who has been appointed to lead the inquiry, made general introductory remarks about the nature and scope of the review.
Gotterson said the inquiry was “established against the background of there having been in recent times allegations of money laundering, criminal infiltration and other integrity issues in casinos in Australia.”
In particular, the Queensland probe will examine the use of China UnionPay debit or credit card facilities, as well as other arrangements that may have permitted Chinese nationals to gamble.
This allegation has also been raised during an ongoing inquiry in New South Wales regarding The Star’s Sydney casino. Gotterson added: “Evidence presented in that inquiry, and allegations made elsewhere, have raised concerns regarding the operation of The Star Sydney.
“The shared governance and operational arrangements within The Star Group, and the conduct of The Star Group entities more broadly, are said, within my terms of reference, to give context for the inquiry and review which I am charged with undertaking.”
Applications were then heard for leave or to be legally represented at future public hearings, and further information was provided regarding the review process.
Further public hearings will convene in late August. The review will report to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman by 30 September.
In a statement, The Star said it will cooperate fully with the review.
The UK Government’s White Paper setting out plans to tackle problems in the gambling industry has been delayed once again, this time due to the Conservative leadership election.
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