Star Entertainment Penalized for Facilitating Unlawful Credit Card Gambling

Posted on: August 2, 2023, 10:25h. 

Last updated on: August 2, 2023, 10:25h.

Star Entertainment is facing another fine in Australia, although the latest pales in comparison to what the casino operator has already paid. It might be perhaps because of the millions of dollars in fines it has received that Star was given a little leniency this time.

The Star Casino Gold Coast sign outside the casino
The Star Casino Gold Coast sign outside the casino. Star Entertainment will pay a fine for allowing some gamblers to purchase gaming chips with credit cards. (Image: Quatro Design)

Appearing in court on Wednesday, Star accepted responsibility for helping gamblers circumvent regulations that prevent the use of credit cards for gambling purchases. Company representatives reportedly allowed some patrons to receive casino credit by making payments for non-gaming services that only appeared on paper.


It’s similar to what Crown Resorts did when it allowed Chinese gamblers to use China Union Pay (CUP) cards. In those instances, Crown created fake receipts for hospitality purchases that were, in actuality, covers for casino credit.

Tiny Slap on the Wrist

When facing a Brisbane Magistrates Court judge in Queensland on Wednesday, Star, which previously had to give up its license temporarily in New South Wales, admitted to breaking the rules. It pleaded guilty to seven counts of violating state rules that allow gamblers to purchase casino chips with credit cards.


The violations occurred on several occasions from 2017 to 2022, according to court documents. Although it isn’t clear exactly how much Star may have turned over through the scheme, it acknowledged that one person received AUD20,000 (US$13,112) and another, AUD15,000 (US$9,834). In Crown’s case, the amount reached the hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Star also violated regulations regarding the distribution of marketing material. It pleaded guilty to sending ads to four people on a no-contact list in February of last year.


That was well after it was reportedly retooling its operations after multiple failures that included breaking anti-money laundering and responsible gambling protocols. However, it was also because of the company-wide reorganization that it discovered the issues.


Star contacted Queensland’s gaming regulator, Queensland gaming regulator, to notify it of the responsible gambling failures. It was during that discovery that the company realized it had violated the credit card rules, as well.


For the 11 violations for which it was charged, Star could have received a fine of as much as AUD1 million (US$655,600). This would have been in addition to the AUD200 million (US$213.28 million) it paid in Queensland and New South Wales.


This time around, Star will only have to pay AUD140,000 (US$91,784). It isn’t clear if the company plans on announcing more layoffs to cover the cost.

Just Human Error

Star’s defense attorney argued that the operator’s negligence was not a deliberate act but rather a result of inadvertent human oversight. This assertion was made as part of the defense strategy to diminish the gravity of the company’s misconduct.


In determining the appropriate penalty for Star, the court took into account multiple factors, according to its ruling. It looked at the timely expression of the violations by the company, the voluntary reporting and the extensive internal investigation it conducted on itself.


Star is presently placed under the scrutiny of a designated special manager for one year in Queensland. This began after the company was found guilty of breaking several laws in Queensland and New South Wales.

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