Star Entertainment Covered Up Chinese Transactions Worth $55M

The Star Entertainment’s troubles still persist as the public hearing into the group’s casino operations continues. It has been revealed that the group hid away $55 million wagered by Chinese residents through banned transactions from a Chinese bank.

Star Entertainment Changed Payment Policy in 2016 to Allow Banned Chinese Transactions

The Canberra Times reported that under the hearing in connection with Star Entertainment’s suitability to hold a casino license in Queensland, it was revealed that Chinese residents holding UnionPay cards were able to withdraw cash and then wager it on games in Star Entertainment’s two Queensland casinos – Treasury Casino in Brisbane and The Star Gold Coast. The transactions were recorded as hotel purchases, according to an agreement Star Entertainment had with the National Australia Bank.

UnionPay cards are in fact debit cards, so there is no breach of Queensland regulations in using a debit card to wager on casino games. However, as per Chinese legislation the Chinese bank prohibits such transactions.

Yet the change in payment policy made by Star Entertainment in 2016 in order to conceal these Chinese transactions does not seem entirely legitimate seen from the point of view of anti-money laundering rules and legislation. Furthermore, Star Entertainment did not inform regulators about the purpose of the payment rule change.

The scheme with the UnionPay cards was part of a larger cross-Asian scheme coming mainly from scandal-ridden junket operator Suncity Group (now LET Group), which organized VIP gambling trips for Chinese residents in Macau, other Asian countries and, obviously, Australia.

The Star Sydney, Star Entertainment’s casino in New South Wales, is also under an inquiry about its license from New South Wales regulators as it was also revealed it had connections with Suncity Group and even let the Macau junket operate its own cage in the venue.

More Serious Breaches Revealed Under the Inquiry into Star Entertainment

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The hearing regarding Star Entertainment’s suitability to hold a casino license actually discovered more serious breaches of regulations. It was revealed that a guest that was prohibited from gambling in New South Wales and Victoria back in 2014 and who allegedl ufa365 y had ties to the Italian mafia was allowed to play at Star Entertainment’s Queensland casinos for a period of few years after the ban.

According to Howard Steiner, the current anti-money laundering general manager at Star Entertainment, this would have not been possible under the group’s policies that are valid today.

This is, however, far from the only breach found under the hearing. Additionally, it was reported that Star Entertainment proactively promoted its casino games to gamblers already proven to have gambling issues, offering them incentives in order to entice them to come to the group’s Queensland venues.