Getting back to business
The Star Entertainment Group (“The Star”) has reopened The Star Sydney casino resort. The company’s share price still fell by nearly 23% on Monday, however, following media reports that the company was allegedly involved in money laundering, fraud, foreign interference, and organized crime.
The Star lost over $1bn in market capitalization
Within just a few minutes of the financial markets opening on Monday morning, The Star lost over $1bn in market capitalization. On the same day, the company’s flagship Sydney property reopened for guests and staff who have been fully vaccinated. This property had been closed since June 25 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
A statement from the company said: “The Star looks forward to welcoming back its team members and guests to The Star Sydney and remains committed to the health, safety and well-being of all staff and guests.”
Restrictions remain in place
The capacity restrictions at the Star Sydney upon reopening will mean that only one person is permitted per four square meters in indoor areas. Outdoor capacity is one person per two square meters. The wearing of masks will be mandatory and people need to be sitting down when they are drinking or eating indoors.
The requirement for people to be seated will be removed a week after NSW hits its 80% double dose vaccination target. This target is projected to be met on October 18 or October 25. Starting December 1, the plan is to raise the capacity to a single person per two square meters. Even then, though, the front-of-house staff will still need to wear masks. Crown Resorts has also reopened its venue in Sydney with the rollout of the new guidelines.
The Star’s Queensland casino resort, The Star Gold Coast, also saw an easing of its restrictions from October 8. Masks remain mandatory indoors, while the capacity is a single person per two square meters.
Facing extensive allegations
The allegations against The Star came out on Sunday following the publication of a joint report by three media outlets – 60 Minutes, The Age, and the Sydney Morning Herald. The Star has said that the allegations made in this joint report are “misleading” and stated that it will be taking the appropriate steps to address each of the allegations with the relevant authorities. The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority is currently carrying out a regular review of the operations of The Star Sydney.
Different forms of material and insider evidence were cited as part of this report. The Australian financial watchdog AUSTRAC is already conducting its own money laundering investigation into the casino company. The other major casino operator in the country, Crown Resorts, has had its own highly-publicized issues regarding money laundering failings and links to organized crime.