In the wake of the revelations that it facilitated money laundering across its venues in Australia, Star Entertainment is going to face difficult times ahead. The casino operator’s revenue has ticked up slightly, but the long-term effects of changes to its operations will force it to spend more money.
Star said this week that it faces additional costs between AU$35 million and AU$45 million (US$23 million to $30 million) in fiscal year 2023. These are the result of its remediation procedures in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.
The news came to light during the company’s Annual General Meeting this past Tuesday. Newly-appointed CEO and Managing Director Robert Cooke broke the news to investors as he addressed them for the first time since assuming office.
Star Tries To Satisfy Regulators
Cooke took over after Matt Bekier resigned, and officially began trying to put the company on track last month. NSW and Queensland determined that Star doesn’t deserve a casino license for its egregious breach of rules over a period of years.
An independent monitor, Nicholas Weeks, is now following its daily operations. The cost of that monitoring falls on the company.
Cooke estimates that Star’s work in restoring suitability will be expensive next year. In addition, there will be recurring costs of around 50% of that amount each year thereafter.
The new CEO was able to provide a little bit of good news to shareholders. He stated that core domestic revenue for January 1 through November 15 of this year increased by 1% compared to pre-COVID-19 figures.
This includes a 32% rise at Queenland’s The Star Gold Coast and a 9% increase at Treasury Brisbane. However, The Star Sydney’s 11% drop in NSW partially offset those improvements.
No Dice On In-House Monitor
In addition to the independent monitor, Star also brought in its own monitor in an effort to appease NSW authorities. However, it missed the mark.
The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC), a newly formed regulatory body responsible that is monitoring The Star Sydney and Crown Sydney, has informed the company that has rejected the in-house monitor. As such, it won’t recognize that entity’s actions.
Although Star was found unsuitable for a license in NSW, the state allowed it to hold onto its properties. However, this is only possible with the supervision and oversight of Weeks, who works for corporate restructuring firm Wexted Advisors.
Weeks was appointed by the NICC in October and will be in charge of operations at The Star Sydney for 90 days. His initial task is to determine if Star is capable of turning itself around and becoming a respectable company.
Star brought in law firm Allen & Overy Consulting in August, and it got to work immediately. It has already presented reports on the company’s progress, but the NICC apparently found something it didn’t like in the arrangement.
Star announced the commission’s decision, but didn’t offer an explanation. It only stated, “The Star does not anticipate that the NICC will consider endorsing or approving any remediation program for some time.”
Online Casinos Take A Hit
The land-based casinos in Australia aren’t the only ones to run into issues. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) continues its crackdown on offshore sites, ordering ISPs to block nine more.
The platforms were either offering prohibited services or operating without a license. Either way, they will soon lose their access, and users need to withdraw their funds before it’s too late.
The latest sites are Winning Days, 21Bit Casino, Oshi Casino, Lucky Elf Casino, NeoSpin, Lets Lucky, Boho Casino, Ripper Casino and BC.Game. They join about 635 other sites the ACMA has blocked since it began in November 2019.
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