The Star report to go public this month

A royal commission-style report into the future of embattled gaming venue The Star Sydney will be made public later this month.

The NSW Independent Casino Commission on Monday began its regime overseeing Sydney-based casinos The Star Sydney and Crown Sydney.

Among its priorities, the state’s new casino watchdog inherits the task of responding to the yet-to-be-publicised report into The Star Sydney, following a damning review by Adam Bell SC into the fitness of the venue to hold a casino licence.

Mr Bell’s final report was handed to the previous agency tasked with oversight, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, last week.

An NICC spokesperson told AAP on Monday the report would be publicised this month but no date had been set.

NSW Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said on Friday the new agency’s most pressing task would be to consider the findings of the report but he would not rush chief Philip Crawford to brief him on it.

At the months-long Bell review, lawyers assisting argued the venue was unsuitable to hold a licence and it was told of the controversial use of Chinese debit cards and links to notorious Macau-based junket operator Suncity.

The review was also told of the misleading of banks and an illicit cage that operated in an exclusive high-roller room known as Salon 95.

The legal team for Star Entertainment, which owns the establishment, contended it was a suitable entity after a clean-out of senior management.

Several Star managers resigned during the review, including chief executive Matt Bekier, chief financial officer Harry Theodore, chief legal and risk officer Paula Martin and chief casino officer Greg Hawkins.

John O’Neill, who tendered his resignation as chairman in May, conceded during the probe that the board failed to encourage a culture of risk management.

NICC’s Mr Crawford said the agency was currently examining Mr Bell’s report.

“We were handed a very large document last week and need to consider its contents in light of the new, retrospective, casino laws,” he said on Monday.

Another priority, he said, was continuing supervision and ongoing assessment of recently-opened Crown Sydney’s suitability for a permanent casino licence.

Crown’s gaming operations opened last month at its Barangaroo tower after the company was forced to overhaul its board, management and procedures.

“There is simply no appetite for further misconduct and along with increased resources, we are supervising both casinos with the help of independent monitors, Kroll and Wexted Advisors, who are keeping a close eye on the internal operations of the Crown and The Star respectively,” Mr Crawford said.


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