Qld govt to probe Star's casino licence
Casino operator Star Entertainment will be scrutinised by another independent probe after the Queensland government announced a review into its suitability to hold a licence.
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman had been resisting ordering an inquiry into Star, which operates casinos in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and is behind a major resort development in the state capital.
However, she has now ordered a fresh probe into the casino operator after a NSW inquiry heard allegations Star had potentially acted criminally.
"The Palaszczuk government takes the allegations of money laundering and integrity issues very seriously," Ms Fentiman said in a statement.
Terms of reference are yet to be announced, but the Liberal National opposition wants to see an open inquiry that includes public hearings.
"Queenslanders need to be certain that Queen's Wharf is built on the strongest foundations of integrity," treasury spokesman David Janetzki said.
Star is the proponent behind the $3.6 billion Queens Wharf development, an integrated casino and resort in the Brisbane CBD.
It is due to open in mid 2023.
"The extraordinary allegations aired during the New South Wales gaming regulator's inquiry mean legitimate questions are worthy of being asked here in Queensland," Mr Janetzki said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pushed back on suggestions the state government had taken a long time to act.
"It didn't take long at all," she told reporters on Tuesday.
"We've been watching what's been happening in New South Wales ... we're looking at it very seriously and the attorney-general's acting."
The NSW gaming regulator is hearing closing arguments in a long-running inquiry into claims Star enabled money laundering and organised crime infiltration at its Sydney casino.
In Queensland, the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, the federal regulator, have been probing Star's money-laundering controls in the state.
Star has also been called to give evidence at an inquiry into proposed gambling and money laundering laws in Queensland.
A parliamentary committee is probing the new laws proposed after investigations into Crown and Star casinos in multiple states.
The changes would allow more cashless gambling, and impose penalties of up $50 million for legal breaches.
Legal Affairs and Safety Committee chair Peter Russo said the bill was intended to stamp out money laundering and other "unsavoury" practices at casinos.
However, he admitted the proposed Queensland laws would not stop laundering when operators themselves were involved.
© AAP 2022