The NICC has imposed a six-month deadline on Star Entertainment to regain its gambling license for its gaming operations in Sydney, or face permanent closure of its casino. The regulator’s warning comes after the suspension of Star Sydney’s license in October 2022 due to allegations of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism failures.
The casino has been operating under the supervision of a state-appointed general manager, Nick Weeks, since the license suspension. The NICC has now given Star Sydney six months to prove its ability to operate independently, without the governance of the manager. If the casino fails to do so, it will need approval to operate.
A spokesperson for the commission stated that they are not satisfied that The Star has reached a point where the license suspension can be lifted and it can run its casino without the supervision of the manager. If they can’t prove they are capable of operating with a conditional license over the next six months, the manager will be retired, and the doors will close.
The state-appointed manager, Nick Weeks, was initially appointed for a 90-day period, which has since been extended to June 2024. This new deadline puts additional pressure on the casino operator, as it also faces extended tax rate uncertainty.
The company has faced fines, class actions, and license revocations from regulatory bodies, resulting in a $2.2 billion non-cash impairment of its properties. However, the company has secured a new $450 million debt facility to continue its refinancing process.
A spokesperson for Star Entertainment stated that the company continues to have an unwavering focus on transformation and knows that the implementation of the remediation plan in NSW and Queensland requires rigor and discipline. The company generated $1.9 billion in gaming revenues in the last financial year, representing a 22% increase from the previous year.
In conclusion, the deadline imposed by the NICC has put Star Entertainment under pressure to ensure compliance with the gaming license regulations and prove its ability to operate independently. The company remains focused on its remediation plan and is committed to delivering on its long-term goals.