“The Star would suggest a process involving customers using the terminals to debit funds from their China UnionPay card to credit their hotel account,” Horton said.
“The guest would then bring a receipt for their hotel credit to the cage, accompanied by a VIP executive host, and exchange it for cash or tokens.
“The effect of this was that all charges on the China UnionPay card appeared as hotel and general charges, when at least part of it was used, or intended to be used, for gambling.”
In November 2019, NAB asked Star for proof that some customers were spending those sums on entertainment and lodging. It is alleged that Star’s response did not indicate that any money was used for gambling.
In March 2020, the NAB requested specific transaction information related to China. Again, it is alleged that Star’s responses did not indicate any involvement of gambling funds.
That month, Star told NAB that it would stop accepting China UnionPay cards at NAB terminals at its locations.
However, Horton told the inquest around $55million was spent at Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane using the China UnionPay method.
Other areas the investigation will explore relate to people who were barred from Star’s NSW sites, on the orders of NSW Police, who were then allegedly told to go to Star’s Queensland sites instead.
The spotlight will also be on VIP junket operators. Next 60 minutes reports of alleged links between money laundering and VIP junkets in Melbourne, Queensland’s Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulator investigated junket operators and identified five that were “concerning”.
In May, Star announced to the Australian Stock Exchange that it had ended all junkets in October 2020.
Various Star executives are among the witnesses the inquest will hear.