Australian operator

The Star to repay nearly 2200 employees with $9.2M+ after six-year underpaid period

Reading time 1:50 min

Australian casino operator Star Entertainment Group has admitted it underpaid its staff with nearly 2200 employees denied about A$13 million (USD 9.2M) over a six-year period.

The company, which runs casinos in Sydney, Brisbane and on the Gold Coast, on Monday said it had alerted regulators and unions after discovering it had underpaid thousands of staff back to 2016.

The Star said in an ASX filing that it has commenced a process to fully remediate all impacted team members. The underpayment has been identified through a six-year retrospective wage review of salaried team members underpinned by modern awards. In some cases, employees were found to not be "better off overall" as the annual salary was not sufficient to compensate them for their equivalent award entitlements such as overtime and penalty rates.

We apologise to any team member impacted by the payment shortfall and we are committed to doing the right thing by acting transparently,” The Star CEO & MD Matt Bekier stated. “Our priority is to address this issue and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

The Star now plans to take a provision of approximately A$13 million in its upcoming financial results for 1H FY2022 accounts for the expected cost of remediation. This provision includes estimated back payments, interest and superannuation contributions, where applicable. This is expected to increase the company’s first-half loss to between A$73 million and A$75 million, following another tough trading period blighted by the Delta and Omicron waves. The company’s workforce was paid approximately A$3.3 billion across the same six-year period.

The Star said it has informed the Fair Work Ombudsman and the United Workers Union. "The Star has improved its processes, systems and training and has a plan in place to ensure salaried team members’ pay is correct moving forward," the operator stated.

The Star runs the casino at Pyrmont in Sydney’s Darling Harbour as well as the Star Grand on the Gold Coast and the Treasury in Brisbane, where it is currently building a new $3.6 billion venue at the nearby Queen’s Wharf precinct. This is expected to open 2022, as is its fully-completed Dorsett hotel and apartments tower on the Gold Coast.

Last month, Australia’s financial crime regulator said it was expanding its Star Entertainment Group money laundering probe, the company announced in a statement to the ASX on Friday. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Central (AUSTRAC) has decided to now expand the scope of its investigation to other entities within The Star group, besides the initial probe at Sydney's casino. The gaming company first informed the public that it was under regulatory scrutiny in June last year, when it announced it was notified by the AUSTRAC of an investigation into possible breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws at its casino in Sydney.  

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