Controlling Star’s slot machines sparks a battle of words

“[Labor leader Chris] Minns and Mookhey have already adopted the gaming industry’s slots policy by rejecting the CID’s recommendation for cashless gaming,” he said.

“Labor should come in if they want to lower taxes on the gambling industry.”


In the past six months, The Star’s share price has fallen more than 65 percent to $1.46, and its market cap has plummeted to $1.4 billion from $4 billion in 2021. The group recently announced a net loss of $1.3 billion for the December half.

The financial turmoil began when a 2021 investigation into this imprint led to two independent inquiries into Star Entertainment Group’s operations in NSW and Queensland. The investigations revealed that The Star had facilitated suspected money laundering, large-scale fraud, organized crime and foreign interference in its Australian casinos.

The Star is in the midst of a capital raise aimed at raising $800 million to service its debt and pay multiple regulatory fines that are expected to total hundreds of millions of dollars. It has raised $595 million from institutional investors so far. A retail offering of $205 million in shares remains open to retail investors through March 13.

Star Entertainment has exclusive rights to poker machines in state casinos but owns only 1.8 percent of the machines, with about 75 percent in NSW clubs and the remainder in NSW pubs.

Chief Executive Robbie Cooke said in February the tax hike would “cripple” the group, forcing the company to squeeze $100 million out of its Sydney operations on a cost base of just $450 million.

“There is no company that can sustain a doubling of the tax rate … I am confident that over time common sense will prevail,” Cooke said last month.

Star CEO Robbie Cooke.

Star CEO Robbie Cooke.Credit:Louie Douvis

Although Kean has not commented publicly on the matter since the announcement in December, Perrottet said last month the government’s focus is on making sure The Star’s 4,000 Sydney staff keep their jobs.

A Kean spokesman said in February that the extent of The Star’s financial difficulties was not apparent at the time the proposal was announced, and the treasurer remained in talks with the group.

Break through the noise of federal politics with news, perspective and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up for our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here. Controlling Star’s slot machines sparks a battle of words

Brian Lowry

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