Queensland Casinos of Star Entertainment Reduced Continuous Gambling Limits Right Before the Investigation

Daniel Williams

The ongoing inquiry into Star Entertainment has heard that the casino company was allowing its patrons to gamble continuously for six hours in its venues in the state until a probe into the gambling operator’s suitability to hold a casino licence was unveiled.

Junior Toleafoa, the company’s manager for responsible gambling, revealed that the Australian gambling giant reviewed and reduced the limit on continuous gambling to three hours on the day before the probe started.

At a hearing, Mr Toleafoa told investigators that staff members had to encourage casino patrons to take breaks after six and ten hours of continuous play at the two Queensland casinos – The Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane – under the previous policy of the company. After players had gambled for 11 hours straight, casino employees were required to warn them that they almost reached their time limit, while at the 12th hour of continuous play, casino staff had to inform players they were expected to leave.

However, Star Entertainment’s manager for responsible gambling revealed that only the loyalty card holders were considered subject to the policy, and the gambling giant had no accurate way to monitor the time spent gambling by people who did not hold such a card.

Queensland Employees Were Supposed to Detect Problem Gamblers without Any Facial Recognition Technology

The aforementioned policy of the casino giant outlines some red flags that employees should look for when trying to recognise gambling addicts, including players who leave their children unattended. Some of the signs staff members should look for involve emotional distress, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, as well as people who openly admitted to be dealing with gambling issues or asked to be banned from the venue.

The inquiry asked Mr Toleafoa whether he believed that Star Entertainment’s policy was adequate, and he noted that it had been specially designed to detect gambling addiction no matter the time spent by players gambling. He further noted that almost 7,000 individuals had been excluded from the two aforementioned casinos of the company in the state of Queensland.

Staff members were required to enforce the aforementioned suspensions without the facial recognition technology that had been installed by the gambling company at its interstate venues.

Angela Hellewell, the consel assisting the probe, asked whether facial recognition technology implemented in Sydney casinos had helped employees identify between eight and ten times as many suspended patrons as the ones in the state of Queensland. The manager for responsible gambling at the Australian gambling giant confirmed that the implementation of the facial recognition feature was a great improvement and shared that such technology was likely to soon be added to the company’s Gold Coast casino.

The ongoing inquiry into the Queensland operations of Star Entertainment will investigate some allegations of money laundering and involvement in criminal activity. Allegations that the Australian gambling giant allowed Chinese nationals to circumvent certain currency restrictions to spend up to AU$55 million in its Queensland venues will also be taken into consideration as part of the probe.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez