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Sydney’s Star Casino to front second inquiry

A second inquiry will be held into Sydney's Star Casino.

A second inquiry will be held into Sydney's Star Casino. Photo: AAP

A second inquiry will be held into Sydney’s Star Casino after a gaming watchdog was left unsatisfied by its progress in proving it should regain its licence.

Unlike the first inquiry, the next round of hearings will not be held publicly, however a report will be made public after its conclusion in May, the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) said in a statement on Monday.

The commission suspended the casino’s licence and issued a $100 million fine in October 2022 following the release of the earlier inquiry’s report by Adam Bell SC which found The Star unfit to hold a casino licence after exposing a litany of compliance failures.

These included a notorious gang-linked junket operator running an illicit cage at the casino and Chinese debit card transactions being disguised as hotel expenses.

Bell will also conduct the second inquiry.

The Star was required to demonstrate a substantial shift in its operations to address its failings and prevent further misconduct after the first inquiry, NICC chief commissioner Philip Crawford said.

“The Star has had 18 months to demonstrate that it has the capability and resources to regain its casino licence,” Crawford said on Monday.

But the commission has not been satisfied, extending the appointment of interim manager Nicholas Weeks who currently holds the licence for what it said would be the last time in November.

“The NICC has had concerns about the extent that remediation is attributable to the manager’s oversight and direction versus what is being driven by The Star’s reform agenda,” Crawford said.

He said the commission is giving the casino every chance to prove its suitability before the manager’s appointment ends in June.

“The inquiry will provide the NICC with the information needed to make an important decision for The Star, its employees, its stakeholders and the wider community,” Crawford said.

A deal between the NSW government, Star and the United Workers Union announced on Friday requires the casino to maintain a minimum headcount of staff numbers until 2030.

It will also trial cashless and carded gaming on 51 poker machines and eight table games at the casino ahead of the introduction of cashless, and carded play at NSW casinos in August.

– AAP

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