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Pitiful penalties give Star Casino impunity. Record $80 Million Crown fine must be replicated in NSW

31 May 2022

The record $80m fine imposed on Crown Casino shines a spotlight on the pitiful penalties available to regulators in response to evidence of money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference at Star Casino.

The chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Rev. Tim Costello, said despite appalling evidence of wrong-doing Star was not able to face a similar penalty to that imposed on Crown. The Victorian regulator last year had its powers strengthened, increasing the amount it could fine an operator from $1 million to $100 million.

“The failure to grant the NSW regulator similar powers means there is no protection for the NSW community against Star Casino’s enabling-organised crime activity,” Rev. Costello said.
“The puny penalties available to the NSW regular simply reflects decades of state capture of regulators. We must do better.”

The Alliance for Gambling Reform is calling on the NSW Government to increase the maximum fine from $1 million to $100 million in line with the move in Victoria.

“Casinos produce significant revenue and penalties should not be seen as the ‘cost of business’ which is the case when penalties do not have a significant impact on casino’s profits,” Rev. Costello said.
“The Alliance believes penalties should be at the top of the scale in terms of the severity of fines a state is able to issue.”

Earlier this week the Alliance for Gambling Reform welcomed the record $80 million fine imposed against Crown Casino as being ‘absolutely appropriate’.

The fine was imposed on Crown for a scheme that allowed the illegal transfer of funds from China that was exposed by the Royal Commission. It is estimated Crown derived revenue of more than $32 million from the scandal, which violated Chinese laws and Victoria's Casino Control Act.

The Star Casino Inquiry has heard evidence that Chinese bank cards facilitated $900m of banned gambling transactions at Star, which the Casino then lied about to the National Australia Bank.

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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