Former Qld Court of Appeal judge to lead review of The Star casinos

30 June 2022 By Jerome Doraisamy

The honourable Robert Gotterson – who served as a judge of the Queensland Court of Appeal until late 2019 and is a former Bar Association and Law Council president – will lead an independent external review of the operations of The Star casinos in the Sunshine State.

According to Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman, the Palaszczuk government is determined that Queensland casinos are operated lawfully, ethically and in a way that maintains the highest standards of integrity and public confidence.

Mr Gotterson, she said, “will bring a wealth of judicial experience to the role. His honour served on both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal before retiring in 2019”.

The former judge will be assisted by Jonathan Horton QC.

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“Mr Horton specialises in public and regulatory law and has a depth of experience in the area of inquiries and reviews, including conducting a review of The Star Casino’s licence under the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW) in 2016,” the A-G noted.

Ms Fentiman said that the inquiry into the operations of The Star Gold Coast and the Treasury casinos would have all the powers, authorities, rights, privileges, protection and jurisdiction of a commission of inquiry.

“There have been serious allegations made, along with a number of public inquiries and regulator investigations over recent years,” she said.

“Given the weight of evidence that has emerged regarding the operations of The Star Sydney and the shared governance and operational arrangements of Star Group entities more broadly, it is important the inquiry can seek information from anyone it sees fit.”

“His honour will be able to conduct interviews, and direct questioning of Star employees or other relevant persons should he consider it necessary, as well as review the evidence and the findings of the Bell Review and ongoing Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulations’ investigations,” the A-G went on.

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Ms Fentiman noted that, in addition to the review, the state government is investing more than $4 million extra over the next four years into ensuring casinos are operated lawfully.

“This funding will pay for additional specialist audit resources dedicated to monitoring casino compliance. This will complement existing onsite casino inspection resources, providing more comprehensive regulatory oversight,” she said.

“Changes to the Casino Control and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 are already before the Queensland Parliament as we move to strengthen the casino regulatory framework.

“This includes increased penalties (maximum $50 million), self-reporting obligations and the ability for myself, as the minister, to direct a casino operator to engage an approved qualified expert to inquire into and report on any matter relevant to the conduct of casino operations.”

The proposed inquiry is set to examine issues such as anti-money laundering responsibilities, management of VIP patrons, high rollers and international patrons, use of China UnionPay debit or credit card facilities and other arrangements to help facilitate gambling by Chinese nationals despite Chinese currency movement restrictions, management of exclusions and the approach to gambling harm minimisation.

Former Qld Court of Appeal judge to lead review of The Star casinos
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