Hogg departs as The Star’s acting CEO days before ILGA investigation

Maria Debrincat 1 year ago
Hogg departs as The Star’s acting CEO days before ILGA investigation

The Star must answer to a show-cause letter from the NSW gaming regulator or face $100 million in fines.

Geoff Hogg, the acting CEO of The Star Entertainment Group, resigned from his position less than three months after the troubled casino company was ruled unable to keep its NSW casino licence.

On Monday, Mr. Hogg resigned from all his duties at the gambling firm, including Queensland casino chief and acting CEO.

While Hogg’s precise leaving date is still up in the air, chairman Ben Heap will take over as executive chair until later this year, when new CEO Robbie Cooke is scheduled to start.

Geoff Hogg
Geoff Hogg, the acting CEO of The Star Entertainment Group.

A thorough investigation led by Adam Bell SC discovered evidence of a serious compliance breakdown that resulted in money laundering, criminal infiltration, significant fraud, and foreign interference. Hogg’s departure also occurs just before the casino group presents its case to the NSW Independent Casino Commission on Tuesday. The Star has until Tuesday to demonstrate why its license should not be permanently canceled, before the commission decides on a penalty.

The ILGA investigation also resulted in the resignations of former CFO Harry Theodore, former Chief NSW Casino Officer Greg Hawkins, and former Chief Legal and Risk Officer and Company Secretary Paula Martin. Among the biggest culprits from the investigation were former CEO Mat Bekier and longtime chairman John O’Neill.

Hogg revealed a person who had been prohibited from gambling at NSW and Queensland land-based casinos for 15 years had subsequently been permitted to gamble at the company’s Queensland properties in his testimony to the Queensland inquiry last month, which provided additional cause for concern for the authorities.

The high roller connected to the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mafia rose to the position of “top 10 table games player” at the casino’s Gold Coast location.

Police had already barred him from Crown Melbourne in 2014 and Star Sydney in June 2015, but Mr. Hogg claimed that without a Queensland police ban and with the knowledge The Star had, he lacked the authority to bar the customer from the casinos in the Sunshine State.

Hogg was group executive of operations at The Star before being named acting CEO, and he previously served as managing director of the business’s Queensland operations for more than ten years. The purpose of this action is to demonstrate leadership and show that The Star is capable of adaptation and change.

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