Star Entertainment: Shares fall on money laundering claim

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The Star Sydney Casino & Hotel in Pyrmont, Sydney.Image source, Getty Images

Shares in Australian gambling giant Star Entertainment have slumped after allegations that it enabled illegal activity at its casinos for years.

A joint report by three news outlets implicated the firm in suspected money laundering, organised crime and fraud.

The company's main rival Crown Resorts was hit by similar claims in 2019.

Star said it is "concerned by a number of assertions within the media reports that it considers misleading."

In the statement released by Star to the Australian Securities Exchange it also said: "We will take the appropriate steps to address all allegations with relevant state and federal regulators and authorities."

The report by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, and television programme 60 Minutes, said Star's management had been warned that its anti-money-laundering controls were inadequate.

According to the report, between 2014 and 2021 the firm wooed high-rolling gamblers who were allegedly linked to criminal or foreign-influence activities.

Crown Resorts scandal

Two years ago the same news outlets made similar allegations about Australia's biggest gaming and entertainment group Crown Resorts. That report triggered a series of public investigations into the firm that has left its future in doubt.

In February, the New South Wales state gaming authority said Crown was unfit to operate its casino in Sydney after an official inquiry found it had facilitated money laundering.

The ruling prevented the company from securing a licence to operate the newly-built A$2.2bn (£1.2bn; $1.6bn) Sydney casino.

The scandal also saw the departure of its chief executive Ken Barton less than a week after the findings of the inquiry were made public.

A regulatory report into Crown's suitability to run its casino in Melbourne is due on Friday, while an inquiry into its Perth casino is expected next year.

Star Entertainment Group's shares ended Sydney trade almost 23% lower on Monday.

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