Star fined for allowing minors onto gaming floor

by William Brown Last Updated
Two men caught in Star gambling scam

Sydney’s Star Casino has been fined $90,000 for allowing a 12-year-old girl to gamble and drink at its casino.

SBS reports the 12-year-old was snuck into the facility by her mother through the exit doors.

She was then taken to the main gaming floor and watched by her mother, as she placed 21 bets on the pokie machines over 17 minutes.

The girl and her parents, visiting Australia from China on tourist visas, were only picked up by security when trying to leave the venue.

“It’s quite staggering that the young girl’s parents facilitated her entry in such a deceptive manner, let alone allowed their daughter to gamble,” NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority chair Philip Crawford said.

ILGAM director of investigations and intervention David Byrne said underage patrons trying to sneak in through exit doors is a risk Star should have been prepared for.

“Not only did The Star fail to manage the risk, once the child was on the gaming floor, there were a number of opportunities where staff should have noticed a very young person playing the machines – well before they actually did which was when the family was leaving.

In another incident, a 17-year-old boy was served alcohol and played 42 rounds of roulette and 22 hands of poker before being thrown out by security.

The boy entered the casino with his own drivers licence, and interacted with staff at least 15 times across 3.5 hours before he was noticed to be underage.

A 16-year-old girl was also able to enter the venue through a VIP checkpoint without being asked for ID.

When she was asked on the main gaming floor, a fake driver’s licence was accepted and the teen served alcohol.

“Both children’s forays lasted long enough that they had interacted with several staff by the time they were discovered.”

The Star self-reported the three incidents, which occurred between March and July 2019.

They were still hit with a $60,000 fine for the incident involving the 12-year-old and $15,000 each for the teens.

The Star reported 32 instances of minors accessing the restricted areas of the casino in 2019 and 35 instances in 2018.

Star Entertainment still works with junket operator

The Star Entertainment Group has told an official government inquiry it still works with controversial junket group Suncity.

World Casino Directory reports that according to a recent report, the Brisbane-headquartered operator’s Chief Casino Officer Greg Hawkins is said to have confirmed the partnership.

The New South Wales government’s inquiry into Crown Resorts’ relationship with junket operators heard that Star Entertainment Group recently closed its private gaming room Suncity had run within its 351-room Sydney property.

Mr Hawkins explained his company took the decision after the junket’s owner, Alvin Chau, was barred by the Department of Home Affairs from entering Australia over suspicions he has links with organised crim figures and may be a member of a notorious Macau group.

Mr Hawkins later divulged his firm had moved Suncity’s VIP gaming lounge to another area of its Sydney casino and tasked its own internal anti-money laundering compliance team to begin investigating the matter to see “if that brought any further information to light”.

The executive told the inquiry his company was in the midst of an “ongoing assessment” regarding this partnership but “has not yet made a final determination concerning the allegations against Chau.”

Junket firms such as Suncity Group assist wealthy Chinese patrons in travelling to overseas casinos so they can gamble using pre-arranged credit.

The report reveals the hearing previously heard how Crown Resorts had barred Suncity from operating its own cash exchange desk in 2018 after discovering $4 million in bills stored within the firm’s private room inside the Crown Melbourne casino.

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