The leading Australian casino operator, The Star, was hit with a hefty fine over breaches of the gambling regulation dating as far back as 2017. On Wednesday, the Brisbane Magistrates Court sentenced the company to pay a fine of AU$140,000 ($92,100) along with court costs of AU$3,250 ($2,100). The court heard that the company had insufficient controls related to EFTPOS machines. This means that customers had the option to use credit cards to gamble, granting the possibility to spend more than they can afford.
The recent fine comes after an investigation led by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), the gambling regulator in the state. That probe uncovered breaches of The Star at two of its properties, the one on the Gold Coast, and the one in Brisbane. In light of the investigation, earlier this year, The Star confessed to selling gambling chips with credit cards. Overall, The Star was found guilty of 11 offenses at its two properties.
Seven charges were related to accepting wagers with credit cards. The breaches happened between 2017 and 2022. On the other hand, the remaining four charges were tied to sending advertising or promotional materials to customers who have been banned or excluded from entering the casino. Those breaches, the court heard, dated back to February 2022.
The Gambling Regulator Remains Vigilant
Yvette D’Ath, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, explained that it is unacceptable for casino operators to offer gambling with credit cards. At the same time, she criticized the promotion of gambling activities for individuals who have self-excluded. “Palaszczuk Government expects all Queensland casinos to operate lawfully and ethically,” added D’Ath.
The Minister of Justice said that holding a license for gambling activities is a privilege and said that The Star needs to have effective controls against money laundering and gambling harm as “an absolute minimum.”
“Palaszczuk Government expects all Queensland casinos to operate lawfully and ethically. Allowing credit betting and distributing promotional material to excluded persons are not acceptable ways for casinos to operate in Queensland.“
Yvette D’Ath, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
D’Ath added that its imperative for the public to be confident in the casino sector. Additionally, she vowed the government will continue to enforce the gambling laws and at the same time, strengthen them. Finally, D’Ath noted that the gambling regulator in Queensland will continue to monitor all casino licensees to ensure they follow the established regulations and impose penalties in the event of breaches.