Star Group Shares Fall Following Money Laundering Allegations
On the same day that The Star Sydney reopened, shares in its operator The Star Group (NYSE: SGU) fell by almost 20% following allegations of money laundering, organized crime, large-scale fraud, and foreign interference.
The allegations published in the Australian press, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, claim that between 2014 and 2021, the operator catered to high rollers who were reportedly associated with criminal or foreign-influence operators. The press also alleges that the company would disguise gambling activity as hotel expenses for some Chinese players.
The casino group released a statement refuting the allegations:
The Star is concerned by a number of assertions within the media reports that it considers misleading. There are constraints on publicly discussing specific individuals. We will take the appropriate steps to address all allegations with relevant state and federal regulators and authorities. The Star operates in a heavily regulated industry. We are subject to thorough and ongoing regulatory oversight including compliance checks and reviews across the company’s operations in NSW and Queensland.
The company has also said that it is taking the recommendations of the Bergin Inquiry seriously, especially as it will affect the regulation of casinos in New South Wales. The operator’s Sydney casino is currently undergoing a review by the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA).
It is believed that The Star is in danger of losing its Victoria license and will face stricter regulations. However, a decision is yet to be made by the investing authorities. It is a very similar situation to the scandal surrounding Crown Resorts, which resulted in restrictions being placed on the company’s activities.
Until today (11 October 2021), the casino had been closed since 25 June 2021. However, it is now open to those fully vaccinated with a limit of one person per 4 square meters indoors and per 2 square meters outdoors.