Star Entertainment Banned Poker Players Without Explanation
Posted on: September 14, 2023, 08:12h.
Last updated on: September 15, 2023, 01:02h.
Star Entertainment is still reeling from the effects of multiple regulatory failures and the massive fines that resulted from its willingness to ignore anti-money laundering (AML) policies in Australia. The casino operator is now apparently tightening the screws so much that it’s arbitrarily banning poker players from its casinos without cause.
Craig Abernethy, an Australian poker player and the founder of the Australian Poker Schedule website, has helped bring the issue to light. Earlier this week, he created a petition on Change.org that, with the help of supporters, may be able to get Star to change its stance.
At the very least, the attention should pave the way for Star to step forward and reveal its true motivation behind the ban. So far, the company has only answered requests for clarification by saying it doesn’t have to have a reason, and that players who try to enter a Star property may be arrested.
All Star Patrons On Notice
Abernethy explained in his Change.org petition, which now has 520 signatures, that Star has banned at least six Australian poker players from entering its casinos over the past year. In all of the cases, the operator has refused to explain its position or offer a way for the players to avoid the ban.
Due to these unexplained exclusions by The Star who are hosting this festival, these players egregiously cannot compete without even knowing why or what they have allegedly done wrong, and the scariest thing about not knowing why this happened is this means it can happen to any poker player at any time without prior notice,” said Chris Abernethy in his Change.org petition.
In a conversation with Casino.org, Abernethy confirmed that a source at Star “unofficially” confirmed that the company’s position stems from certain players having transferred “large amounts of money.” This, according to the source, led to the players being put in the same group as money launderers.
However, the company is apparently not willing to work with the players on the issue. When contacting Star, the players learn, “The Star is not required to provide reasons or justifying the exclusions nor the information relied upon making the decision to exclude.”
Star could have easily resolved the issue by requesting information regarding the source of the funds. When playing in nosebleed tournaments with $50,000 buy-ins, there are bound to be massive money transfers.
Abernethy stressed that several members of the poker community have tried to discuss the issue with Star, as well as with the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation and Queensland government officials. So far, all avenues have led to dead ends.
Top Players To Miss WPT Event
The debacle has immediate consequences for the players. The World Poker Tour (WPT) is now in Australia, where it has an exclusive relationship with Star.
As the Star Gold Coast began hosting the WPT series today, Alex Lynskey, 8th on Australia’s all-time money list, according to the Hendon Mob, won’t be able to participate. Nor will Najeem Ajez, who recently came in first at an Australian Poker Tour event in Queensland and finished 3rd in the WPT Australia Main Event last year.
Others, as Abernethy learned while speaking to players, have had to provide income statements in order to participate. This is reminiscent of poker player Crispin Rovere, who had his bank accounts frozen after making a few deposits. Despite the amount being under the established threshold for AML reporting guidelines, Westpac took action anyway.
Rovere said at the time that a “totalitarian” attitude might become the norm in the financial industry. It appears that it might already be the norm with Star.