These inquiries unveiled unsettling information, notably that individuals barred from gambling at Star’s Sydney facility were redirected to its Gold Coast establishment. As a result of these damning revelations, Star Entertainment was penalized with fines amounting to $100 million each in both QLD and NSW. Additionally, the company faced an extra fine of $140,000 for illicitly assisting gamblers in using their credit cards for gambling activities in its Brisbane and Gold Coast locations.
Management Overhaul and Enhanced Accountability
Post these investigations, Star Entertainment has been proactive in initiating comprehensive reforms. These reforms are not limited to its internal structure but extend to a major overhaul in its management and board composition. As part of its renewed strategy, the company aims to establish property-based operational business units for its casinos located in Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney. CEO Robbie Cooke expressed optimism about these changes, emphasising that the restructuring would streamline the company’s operations and bolster accountability.
Jessica Mellor’s recent elevation to the role of CEO marks a significant step in this direction. Mellor has been associated with the Gold Coast branch for 4 years and previously served as the Chief Operating Officer. She brings a wealth of experience to the table, having held the position of CEO at Aquis Entertainment, which manages the Canberra casino. Mellor’s appointment in 2019 as the first and youngest female COO of the Star Gold Coast was a testament to her capabilities and the company’s progressive approach.
Commenting on the structural alterations, Cooke stated, “The new structure will provide greater responsibility and decision-making power at a property level while maintaining appropriate oversight from the group level.”
Mellor’s Vision for Gold Coast’s Future
Mellor’s commitment to the GC operations is evident from her past contributions and her forward-looking vision for the establishment. Reflecting on the challenges faced over the past 4 years, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mellor acknowledged the resilience and innovation of the GC team. She expressed enthusiasm about the region’s potential and highlighted the significant role The Star could play in shaping its future.
“When I joined The Star in 2019, I was so grateful to be in a position to take on an amazing opportunity whilst also returning to my hometown,” Mellor remarked. Her focus remains on enhancing guest experiences and cementing the casino’s position within the GC community.
A Renewed Commitment from Star
Earlier this month, David Foster, Chair and Independent Non-Executive Director, underscored 2023 as a pivotal year for Star Entertainment. His comments in the company’s annual report followed a series of regulatory setbacks that have plagued the Australian casino industry. Despite these challenges, Star Entertainment is committed to embracing change and improving its core operational behaviours.
In light of the recent controversies and the subsequent reforms, Star’s decision to appoint Mellor is seen as a step in the right direction, heralding a new era of transparency, accountability, and excellence.