Liquor & Gaming NSW issues Covid-related fine to Star Casino

14 July 2020

Sydney’s Star Casino has been hit with an AUD$5,000 (£2,776/€3,059/US$3,476) fine by local regulator Liquor & Gaming New South Wales for breaching public health orders designed to prevent the spread of novel Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Patrons of the Star Entertainment Group-owned venue were observed "standing and mingling between groups while consuming alcohol" on Saturday, according to the regulator.

According to the state's public health orders, patrons of the casino are required to be seated in order to be served or consume alcohol.

Acting director of compliance for Liquor & Gaming NSW, Dimitri Argeres, said: “There is a risk of Covid-19 transmission if people are mingling while under the effect of alcohol.”

“The Star was aware of its obligations to establish and enforce their Covid-19 Safety Plan as we have visited twice over the past two weeks and provided information and advice on what they should be doing.

“The fine follows a third inspection on the weekend where we witnessed further breaches of the Covid-19 Safety Plan, with patrons standing while consuming liquor and mingling between groups. We want to send a strong message that businesses must manage these risks to ensure individual patrons and the community are protected.”

The Star yesterday (13 July) announced that a patron who visited on Saturday 4 July tested positive for Covid-19. The venue is now working with NSW Health to initiate contact tracing.

Covid-19 safety breaches in New South Wales carry a fine of up to $55,000 for businesses, and up to $11,000 for individuals.

Last week, the Double Bay’s Golden Sheaf Hotel was ordered to pay AU$5,500, after also breaching rules related to Covid-19 prevention. According to Liquor & Gaming NSW, a group of around 250 customers did not adhere to social distancing outside the venue last Wednesday (8 July).

Another recent compliance breach identified by the regulator saw Woolworths-owned Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) ordered to pay more than AU$172,000, after two of its hotels were found to be supplying gaming patrons with free alcohol in order to encourage higher spends.

Liquor & Gaming NSW inspected more than 50 ALH venues across NSW and formally investigated four, finding that Westower Tavern in Ballina and South Tweed Tavern had systemically supplied gaming patrons with free alcohol.

In addition to paying its fine, ALH will be banned from operating its poker machines in these two hotels for two weeks.