The scheme was used in Star’s Queensland casinos to the tune of $55 million over three years, and about $400 million in The Star Sydney over seven years.
For the next two days of the inquiry, Star was accused of offering incentives to suspected criminals who were banned from interstate casinos, to bring their business to Star’s Queensland venues.
These included a $50,000 Rolex watch, dinners and cakes for special occasions, business-class flights, limousine transfers, use of Star’s private jet, accommodation upgrades, tickets to entertainment shows such as Village People and John Farnham, and gift cards.
After taking their business across the border, these Diamond members – the highest level in Star’s loyalty program – rose through the ranks to be among The Star Gold Coast’s top players.
Star anti-money laundering general manager Howard Steiner said the casino giant had since improved its policies, so similar clients would now trigger background and money source checks.
Also on the table was the casino giant’s policies regarding identifying potential problem gamblers.
Witness A – a recovering gambling addict – said he tried to ban himself from casinos during his addiction, but he easily got back in.
The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane has 6829 members who have self-excluded or been banned by the venue. Staff are largely relied upon to recognise banned players.
Star responsible gambling manager Junior Toleafoa said facial recognition cameras – rolled out at The Star Sydney and shown to detect banned patrons 8-10 times more – were meant to have been installed at both Queensland venues.
“I believe that technology is soon to be implemented, I don’t know all of the bits behind that, and why it hasn’t been already, but I believe it is on the brink of being implemented on the Gold Coast, I don’t know any more than that. But it is technology that we want,” he said.
Toleafoa then conceded he could not be any more specific with his Star Gold Coast timeline other than using the word “soon”. The rollout at Treasury Brisbane remained unknown.
Justice Robert Gotterson, a former Court of Appeal judge leading the inquiry, will hear further legal submissions next week before he is due to deliver his findings on September 30.
The Queensland government has already moved to strengthen its punitive powers over casino operators, including fines of up to $50 million for regulatory breaches.