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Australia Regulator Expands Money Laundering Probe at Casino Firm Star

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Australia’s financial crime regulator said on Friday it had broadened its ongoing investigation of the country’s second-biggest casino operator Star Entertainment Group over possible breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws at its casinos.

The sector has been plagued by a slew of regulatory inquiries in Australia and the development highlights casino firms’ shortcomings in managing strict oversight of alleged money laundering at their gambling hotspots.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) launched a probe in June into Star’s casino in Sydney amid concerns over ongoing customer due diligence and compliance with laws.

Local media later reported on a confidential review that accused Star of failure to curb fraud and money laundering at its two resorts.

The investigation into Star will now include multiple entities under the company, AUSTRAC said on Friday, declining to comment further as the probe was ongoing.

The company said earlier in the day that it would fully co-operate with AUSTRAC’s investigation.

Australia

REGULATOR WARNS HIGHER FINES ON THE CARDS FOR ILLEGAL GAMBLING ADS

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REGULATOR WARNS HIGHER FINES ON THE CARDS FOR ILLEGAL GAMBLING ADS
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Online betting operators have been issued with more than $100,000 in fines over the past week as Liquor & Gaming NSW continues to take a zero-tolerance approach to the publication of illegal gambling inducements.

Most recently, online betting provider BetDeluxe has been fined $70,000 for publishing illegal gambling inducements after being prosecuted by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

This follows the successful prosecution of PointsBet, which was fined a total of $35,000 for publishing illegal gambling inducements last week, after receiving a $20,000 fine for the same offences in 2019.

Hospitality and Racing CEO, Anthony Keon said Liquor & Gaming NSW was continuing to pro-actively monitor online betting providers and it was completely unacceptable that seven bookmakers have been prosecuted on multiple occasions since 2018.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW will continue to actively pursue operators for illegal advertisements and advocate for the courts to issue higher penalties,” Mr Keon said.

“In 2018 the NSW Government introduced new laws to significantly increase penalties for wagering operators who are found guilty of promoting inducements to gamble, with maximum fines now set at $110,000 per offence for a corporation.

“Clearly some of these operators think gambling inducements are just the cost of doing business, but they are wrong, and they are pushing their luck. We will continue to bring these matters before the courts and seek higher penalties that reflect community expectations.”

In Downing Centre Local Court yesterday (18/5), BetDeluxe pleaded guilty to five offences that included 21 Facebook promotions for bonus bets on sports games and enhanced odds on horse racing.

In addition to the $70,000 in fines, BetDeluxe has also been ordered to pay $8,500 in legal costs. This is the first time the company has been prosecuted for this type of offence.

PointsBet pleaded guilty to two advertisements that included an Instagram promotion to get $50 back in bonus bets, similar to those it offered in 2019 on the Apple App Store, promising $100 cash back on certain bets.

“Prohibitions on gambling inducements are an important harm minimisation measure and the increase in maximum penalties, along with our continued prosecution action, should send a clear message to wagering operators about how seriously we view these matters,” Mr Keon said.

“Reoffenders run the risk of the higher range penalties, and more scrutiny, so let me be clear that patterns of poor compliance are not worth the trouble.

“We hope this is the first and last time we see BetDeluxe in court for gambling inducements.”

Since 2015, Liquor & Gaming NSW has successfully prosecuted 37 matters for prohibited gambling advertising, resulting in over $642,500 in fines, with nine betting providers currently before the courts.

 

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Australia

Sally Pitkin and Gerard Bradley to Step Down from Star Entertainment Board

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Two non-executive directors of the Star Entertainment Group have announced their intention to step down from the Board.

According to an ASX announcement by the company on Friday following another damaging week of public hearings – part of a regular review into Star’s suitability to retain its casino license for The Star Sydney – non-executive directors Sally Pitkin and Gerard Bradley will both stand down in the coming months. Pitkin will step down “by the end of the financial year” and Bradley “in the coming months”, the announcement said, with other changes expected to occur in due course.

Having largely dodged scrutiny in recent years while Crown endured an inquiry in NSW, home to Crown Sydney, and Royal Commissions in Victoria and Western Australia, home to Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, Star now finds itself treading a familiar path as it fights to save its reputation.

In Friday’s ASX filing, Star said it “notes the evidence in relation to Board renewal given in the public hearings in connection with the review of The Star Sydney being undertaken by Mr Adam Bell SC.

“As advised on 1 April 2022 in announcing the appointment of interim Executive Chairman John O’Neill AO, the Board acknowledged the need for accelerated Board change and would embark on a program of renewal in a timely manner. The Board is also mindful of the need for stability in this transitional period.”

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Australia

SPORTRADAR SELECTED BY AUSTRALIAN ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE TO PROVIDE INDUSTRY-LEADING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS

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SPORTRADAR SELECTED BY AUSTRALIAN ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE TO PROVIDE INDUSTRY-LEADING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS
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The Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) announced a major data and AV distribution rights partnership with Sportradar (NASDAQ: SRAD). Sportradar acquires the worldwide data and audio-visual distribution rights, excluding Australia and New Zealand, through to the end of the 2024 season.

As the leading global sports technology company creating immersive experiences for sports fans, Sportradar will deliver a range of advanced technological solutions. One of the main solutions is Connected Stadium, a state-of-the-art automated technology that captures live games and enhances the quality of video production for a more engaging fan experience. The Connected Stadium camera system will be installed in six league venues by 2024, starting with the O’Brien Icehouse in Melbourne. The live feed from the camera system will be used by both local and international broadcasters to help increase viewership and build a larger fanbase for the AIHL.

All eight teams in the AIHL will also be able to use the Synergy coaching and scouting platform, offering full access to videos and detailed analytics to assist with the process of scouting and drafting of players.

Sportradar will also help safeguard the AIHL’s integrity, providing access to the Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), its globally leading bet monitoring and match fixing detection service. This new relationship increases Sportradar Integrity Services’ portfolio of ice hockey partners to ten different leagues around the world, including the National Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League in North America, and the Champions Hockey League in Europe.

David Edwards, Sportradar’s Director of Sports Media & Sports Partnerships – Oceania, said: “The suite of industry-leading technology solutions that we provide is vital for the AIHL to engage a wider audience and grow the profile and participation in ice hockey, both in Australia and other key regions. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase how our expertise and technological capabilities are used to support sports federations and leagues in this region.”

Peter Hartshorne, Chairman of the AIHL, said: “As we ramp up our efforts to grow the AIHL, with the addition of two more teams over the next three years, it is imperative that we have the right technological solutions to realise the league’s commercial potential. With Sportradar’s track record with some of the world’s largest sports leagues, we are confident that this partnership will yield positive results in the near future.”

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