Star Sydney Encouraged High Rollers To Lie

Reports in the press suggest Star Entertainment encouraged high rollers to lie about their residential status to avoid higher tax rates.

Star Entertainment finds its name dragged through the mid once more in what is a possible tax dodge scandal. The casino stands accused of encouraging high rollers to lie about where they live in order to minimise the amount of gaming tax Star Sydney owes.

Star Sydney pays a reduced rate of gaming tax on revenue generated from non-local high rollers. A deal struck with the New South Wales government sees Star Sydney pay only 10% compared to more than 20% for local high rollers. Two Star Sydney workers came forward and confirmed their direct involvement in the scheme. They claim Star encouraged local high rollers to obtain documents making it appear they resided interstate or overseas event though they live in New South Wales.

The casino offered the local high rollers a small cut of their gambling revenue if they complied. Anyone meeting a checklist of requirements for a non-New South Wales gaming status gained access to lucrative rebate programs.

The Sydney Morning Herald sent Star Sydney a list of detailed questions regarding the allegations. Star responded with a mere two-sentence statement.

“The Star runs a rebate program where the eligibility of domestic international players is determined by criteria known to the regulator. The Star operates in a highly regulated environment.”

Bowing to High Rollers Causes Star Entertainment Many Problems

High rollers are extremely important to casinos because of the vast sums they gamble with. In addition, these well-heeled customers spend small fortunes on rooms, food, drink, and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, casinos bend over backwards to accommodate the biggest spenders.

Two sources informed the Sydney Morning Herald the casino offered staff bonuses for getting high rollers to alter their addresses and residential status. It sounds like the tax dodge goes all the way to the top. The matter is of interest to the ongoing Bell Inquiry.

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) launched an inquiry into Star Sydney in September 2021. Barrister Adam Bell, SC, heads the investigation. The Bell Inquiry is looking into several aspects of how Star Sydney operates after revelations about poor governance and practices as the Sydney property.

According to the reports in the press, Star facilitated money laundering on a grand scale. It allowed Chinese high rollers to deposit and withdraw huge sums of cash disguised as hotel expenses. Crown Resorts allowed a similar scheme, which a royal commission lambasted.

Failure To Stop Criminals Gambling

Sources told Sydney Morning Herald one of the high rollers approached to change his residential status is considered a “whale.” This is a term used to describe someone who spends and loses vast sums of money. The “whale” allegedly owes the federal government tens of millions of dollars in unpaid tax.

Just last year, the casino allowed Mende Rajkoski to gamble freely without thoroughly checking his source of funds. Rajkoski once gambled $100 million in a single week but Star never challenged him. He only stopped gambling at Star Sydney after police arrested him for his part in importing three tons of pure cocaine into Australia.

Furthermore, reports suggest Simon Pan regularly frequented the casino. Pan is a Chinese crime boss wanted by Interpol on money laundering and sex trafficking charges.

Michael Gu is another wanted man that wagered large sums of money through Star Sydney. Gu moved $8 million of his clients’ money through Crown Melbourne. it is believed he wagered similar sums with Star. Gu lived a lavish lifestyle as head of iProsperity property group, valued at $600 million. However, he fled Australia last August with his company owing $325 million to investors.

Gu’s situation is likened to that of Christopher Skase. Mr Skase fled Australia for Majorca, Spain, in 1991 after running up $700 million debts. Although he avoided extradition to his home country, Skase died a wanted man in August 2001.