The public inquiry led by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority or ILGA had David Aloi, a former Star casino regulatory manager on the stand today, who shed more light on how the property assisted Chinese customers to avoid detection and continue gambling while writing off the expenses as hotel accommodation rather than gambling expenditure.
Hearing into Star Sydney Continues with New Allegations
According to the casino, the system was condoned by the higher-ups in the company and expressed his personal disagreement with the arrangement which had him swipe customer cards and hide the nature of the transaction as hotel accommodation expenses. This applied to visitors who used the China Union Pay (CUP) which prohibits any use of cardholders’ funds for the purposes of gambling.
However, the workaround was established in previous hearings with Aloi now giving more detail into how this operated. This follows the news that Star Entertainment Group’s managing director and CEO Matt Bekier is resigning, which is a testimony to the company attempting to owe up to its shortcomings and fix the current situation. After Crown Resorts was given a two-year period to fix its issues and return back to suitability to hold a license.
Bekier’s action seeks to mitigate the impact the Star casino would suffer and hopefully find a better outcome of the public inquiry which has already revealed some serious infringement of the country’s licensing code. In his testimony to the commission and its head, Adam Bell, Aloi argued that he and other staffers were under pressure to “get it done” as higher-ups would say.
Aloi was asked by the National Australia Bank (NAB) whether the system was permissible. Aloi explained that some of his seniors had alleviated concerns by arguing that it was okay to put down the expenses as accommodation. They cited the use of EFTPOS terminals which are located in hotels, but Bell argued that the EFTPOS served a different purpose – they identified where the service is provided, but not the exact location of the terminal.
Star Sydney Has Long Been Tracked by Regulators
Aloi confirmed that back in 2021 he had misled the commission by claiming that the watchdog responsible knew about the diversion of CUP funds from hotel accommodation to hotel expenses. Essentially, Aloi pointed the finger at the regulator arguing that they did not do their job. During the questioning this morning, however, he admitted that the regulator did not know much about the breach of rules – nothing at all.
CUP was looking into the issue since 2019 but The Star stayed under the radar for some time. However, CUP also reached out to NAB and ensured a clearer line of communication which eventually led to the discrepancies. Last week, the inquiry found out that Star Sydney allowed Suncity Group to operate an anonymous junket room in secrecy even after formally cutting ties in 2019.