Earlier today, the financial crime regulatory body of Australia revealed that it had decided to broaden its ongoing probe into Star Entertainment Group over possible violations of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing legislation at its casino venues.
As Casino Guardian reported, a probe into Star Entertainment’s casino in Sydney was rolled out by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) in 2021. The investigation was launched over some concerns regarding the casino operator’s current customer due diligence and law compliance practices. At a later point, a local media hub reported on a confidential review claiming that Star, which is currently the second-biggest casino operator in Australia, failed to stick to fraud and money laundering provisions at its two resorts.
Today, the AUSTRAC revealed that as a result of its decision to expand the probe into the casino company, the investigation into Star Entertainment will include several entities that are being operated under the company. The regulatory body said it will request documents and information from the casino operator as part of the investigation. The Australian financial crime regulator, however, refused to make further comments on the matter because the inquiry is still ongoing.
The information was confirmed by Star Entertainment that also shared that it would fully cooperate with the investigation of the watchdog.
Australia’s Casino Sector Shaken by Several Regulatory Probes into the Biggest Gambling Companies
The casino sector in the country had been shaken by a number of in-depth regulatory investigations, with the development of the ongoing inquiries only highlighting the shortcomings of local casino operators when it comes to remaining in line with Australia’s laws that prohibit the use of gambling facilities for money laundering practices or terrorism financing.
The main rival of Star Entertainment in the Australian casino sector – Crown Resorts – has also faced several investigations over allegations of misconduct and violation of anti-money laundering laws. The casino giant has faced such probes literally in every state it operates in. Crown Resorts has been found unfit to run its new Barangaroo casino in Sydney and its Melbourne casino resort, while the investigation into its operations in Perth is still ongoing.
Although the Royal Commissions that were established to investigate the operations of Crown Resorts in the states where the company currently has casino venues found a lot of misconduct issues, one of them decided to give a chance to the Australian gambling giant to correct its wrongdoings. A few months ago, the Victorian Royal Commission tabled its findings, calling the actions of Crown Resorts “disgraceful”. However, the casino company was still given a chance, as local regulators allowed it to continue the operation of its largest-earning casino under supervision.
The investigation found Crown Resorts’ founder and current holder of an almost 37% stake in its business, James Packer, had acted in a “dishonest, exploitative, illegal and unethical” way that has seriously affected the way the gambling operator was managed. As reported by Casino Guardian at the time, the company was given a grace period of 2 years to make things right in its Crown Melbourne operations while the resort remains up and running for the period of supervision.