The Star Sydney broke state gambling laws in allowing a “pseudo-cage” to operate in a VIP room used by a notorious Macau-based junket, an inquiry into the Sydney venue has been told.
The long-running NSW gaming regulator inquiry, which completed its final day of public hearings on Monday, has been looking at whether the Sydney casino should keep its licence after media claims of organized crime, fraud and foreign interference.
Lawyers assisting the inquiry have argued it is not fit to operate as a casino but the legal team for Star Entertainment, which owns the establishment, contends it is now suitable following a clean-out of senior management.
In reply submissions on Monday, counsel assisting, Naomi Sharp argued the playing of baccarat in Salon 95 – an exclusive room over which gang-linked junket operator Suncity had an access deal and ran an illicit cage – formed the basis of breaches of the NSW Unlawful Gambling Act.
Ms. Sharp said it was “open to finding” that it was unlawful for the casino to assist in organizing the room’s baccarat, which she argued was illegal because “the promotion of the game was not by the casino operator in those circumstances”.
“When Suncity staff were accepting or handling or providing chips to patrons at the service desk in Salon 95 they were assisting in the conduct of an organization of the game, and The Star in providing the premises was assisting.”
She also argued the casino broke the state’s casino control act in allowing Salon 95 to run as a “casino within a casino” in that it breached internal casino control manuals.
“There are some pathways by which it can be said that The Star … contravened statutory provisions in permitting a pseudo cage to be operated not by it in Salon 95,” Ms Sharp said.
Earlier, the barrister took issue with Star’s claim that its controversial China Union Pay (CUP) debit card scheme did not involve “significantly elevated risk from a money laundering and counter-terrorism financing perspective”.
“We submit that that submission is somewhat difficult to reconcile with the apparent concession that no source of funds checks were conducted,” she said.
A central issue has been the casino’s deployment of CUP cards, with the inquiry previously told problems with the process included sham documents, the misleading of banks and regulators, and a possible breach of casino control laws.
About $900 million was transacted on the cards before the scheme, 우리카지노 which disguised gaming chip purchases as hotel charges, was shut down.
Ms Sharp pointed to billionaire high-roller Phillip Dong Fang Lee, the casino’s largest user of the CUP process, whom she said was on some occasions issued with a cheque by the casino when his swipes did not match his level of play.
“The effect of that process … is that the cheque gave the appearance that Mr Lee had obtained his money from the casino when in fact the source of funds was a bank account in China, being the one linked to the CUP card,” she said.
Another money laundering risk was the “obfuscation” associated with the CUP process, especially related to regulators and law enforcement , Ms Sharp said.
Authorities looking at the CUP transactions “from the outside” were led to believe the funds were linked to a hotel and not to purchase gaming chips.
The casino and Star were also aware “from the earliest times” that the CUP payment channel was a means to avoid rules on currency flight from mainland 바카라사이트추천 China, 온라인바카라 she said.
The final report of the review, helmed by Adam Bell SC, will be delivered to the gaming regulator by the end of August.