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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Star 'not suitable' for casino licence - May 31, 2022

Star 'not suitable' for casino licence

A period of "deep reflection" is needed at Star Entertainment before the gaming giant is fit to hold a casino licence, an inquiry into its Sydney casino has been told. 

The NSW gaming regulator inquiry has examined claims the ASX-listed company enabled suspected money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference at The Star Sydney as part of assessing its fitness to hold a casino licence.

The 36 day inquiry was told notorious junket Suncity operated an illegal cage at the casino, that the venue flouted rules on China Union Pay debit cards on which $900 million was transacted, and that Star staff lied to banks and did not do enough in dealings with regulators.

There was evidence that Star worked covertly to stop the public hearings taking place.

"We submit that the evidence in the public hearing establishes that The Star is not suitable to hold the casino licence and that its close associate Star Entertainment is not suitable either," counsel assisting Naomi Sharp SC said in closing submissions on Tuesday.

Ms Sharp said Star and its Sydney casino were only at the start of their journey "about what has gone wrong within these organisations".

"There has not yet been the period of deep reflection which of course will be necessary in order to develop a concrete plan about what ... can bring these corporations into a position of suitability," she said.

She urged Adam Bell SC, who is helming the inquiry, to adopt the approach set out in the Finkelstein review of rival Crown Resorts that if "most norms" are infringed then a company's "journey is at its end".  

Ms Sharp said there was a lack of supervision in Star's international VIP team, headed by John Chong and then Marcus Lim, with "certain shortcomings" existing on high-value patrons, and failures to notify Star's board.

The inquiry has previously been told a Chinese-born high roller about whom The Star Sydney harboured potential money-laundering concerns turned over more than $2 billion at the venue. There was also testimony of Star staff providing fake source of funds documents to the Bank of China in Macau.

Star's legal team also came in for criticism, with Ms Sharp pointing to "abuse" of legal professional privilege and describing some Star legal practices as unethical.

She attacked evidence of Star lawyers, especially that of ex-chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin, labelling her testimony pedantic, technical, and non-responsive, and arguing she failed to take personal responsibility.

Ms Sharp also critiqued evidence of Star's former general manager of financial crime and investigations, Kevin Houlihan, over his statement she said was "like entering a labyrinth" and "not a forthcoming account".

There was "very considerable concern" about the evidence of former chief financial officer Harry Theodore, while the testimony of former chief executive Matt Bekier, who stepped down earlier this year, was praised as "frank and candid".

On risk management, Ms Sharp described Star's framework as containing "very serious" failings in the international VIP team and within The Star Sydney, and the venue's possible underpayment of gaming duty.

Responsibility for risk shortcomings lay with internal casino divisions, senior management and the board, she said.

Ms Sharp SC outlined 26 areas she would address in closing, including looking at whether Star failed to pay sufficient NSW gaming duties and if it breached continuous disclosure obligations in selective briefings to investors.

There has been a clean-out of Star top brass since the inquiry began, including Mr Bekier, Mr Theodore, chief casino officer Greg Hawkins, Ms Martin and board chairman John O'Neill.

The inquiry continues on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Monday, May 30, 2022

All Elite Wrestling 'Double Or Nothing' - T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. May 29, 2022

 All Elite Wrestling 'Double Or Nothing' - T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. May 29, 2022

Hangman’ Adam Page (C) vs. CM Punk — AEW World Championship
Thunder Rosa (C) vs. Serena Deeb — AEW Women’s World Championship
Jurassic Express (C) vs. Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks vs. Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland — AEW World Tag Team Championship
Adam Cole vs. Samoa Joe — Owen Hart Foundation Men’s Tournament Final
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs. Ruby Soho — Owen Hart Foundation Women’s Tournament Final
Blackpool Combat Club, Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz vs. Jericho Appreciation Society — Anarchy In The Arena Match
House of Black vs. Death Triangle
American Top Team vs. Frankie Kazarian, Sammy Guevara & Tay Conti
Young Bucks vs. The Hardys
Wardlow vs. MJF
Darby Allin vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Jade Cargill (C) vs. Anna Jay— TBS Championship

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Casino News Media: US Casinos Had Best Month Ever in March, Winning $5.3B

US Casinos Had Best Month Ever in March, Winning $5.3B

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Inflation may be soaring, supply chains remain snarled and the coronavirus just won’t go away, but America’s casinos are humming right along, recording the best month in their history in March.

The American Gaming Association, the gambling industry’s national trade group, said Wednesday that U.S. commercial casinos won more than $5.3 billion from gamblers in March, the best single-month total ever. The previous record month was July 2021 at $4.92 billion.

The casinos collectively also had their best first quarter ever, falling just short of the $14.35 billion they won from gamblers in the fourth quarter of last year, which was the highest three-month period in history.

Three states set quarterly revenue records to start this year: Arkansas ($147.4 million); Florida ($182 million), and New York ($996.6 million).

The numbers do not include tribal casinos, which report their income separately and are expected to report similarly positive results.

But while the national casino economy is doing well, there are pockets of sluggishness such as Atlantic City, where in-person casino revenue has not yet rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

“Consumers continue to seek out gaming’s entertainment options in record numbers,” said Bill Miller, the association’s president and CEO. He said the strong performance to start 2022 came ”despite continued headwinds from supply chain constraints, labor shortages and the impact of soaring inflation.”

The trade group also released its annual State of the States report on Wednesday, examining gambling’s performance across the country.

As previously reported, nationwide casino revenue set an all-time high in 2021 at $53.03 billion, up 21% from the previous best year, 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

But the report includes new details, including that commercial casinos paid a record $11.69 billion in direct gambling tax revenue to state and local governments in 2021. That’s an increase of 75% from 2020 and 15 percent from 2019. This does not include the billions more paid in income, sales and other taxes, the association said.

It also ranked the largest casino markets in the U.S. in terms of revenue for 2021:

The Las Vegas Strip is first at $7.05 billion, followed by: Atlantic City ($2.57 billion); the Chicago area ($2.01 billion); Baltimore-Washington D.C. ($2 billion); the Gulf Coast ($1.61 billion); New York City ($1.46 billion); Philadelphia ($1.40 billion); Detroit ($1.29 billion); St. Louis ($1.03 billion); and the Boulder Strip in Nevada ($967 million).

The association divides most of Pennsylvania’s casinos into three separate markets: Philadelphia, the Poconos and Pittsburgh. Their combined revenue of nearly $2.88 billion would make them the second largest market in the country if judged as a single entity. It also counts downtown Las Vegas, and its $731 million in revenue, as a separate market.

Seven additional states legalized sports betting and two more added internet gambling in 2021.

The group reported many states saw gamblers spending more in casinos while visiting them in lower numbers compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

The average age of a casino patron last year was 43 1/2, compared to 49 1/2 in 2019.

Americans bet $57.7 billion on sports last year, more than twice the amount from 2020. That generated $4.33 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 180% over 2020.

Internet gambling revenue reached $3.71 billion last year, and three states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan — each won more than $1 billion online. West Virginia’s internet gambling market reached $60.9 million in revenue in its first full year of operation, while Connecticut’s two internet casinos reported combined revenue of $47.6 million after launching in October.

Casino News Media: Global Gaming Directory Website Updated

Global Gaming Directory Website Updated

Casino Trends and Gaming News in The Current Market and Past, Present and Future: Media Man Network findings

Casino Trends and Gaming News in The Current Market and Past, Present and Future: Media Man Network findings