THE Star has agreed to stop the practice of using models to lure customers into the casino after an inquiry by the state’s gambling watchdog.
The Sun-Herald revealed last month the casino had employed young women to attract ”L-plate” gamblers by distributing free $5 betting chips on city streets. Vouchers for complimentary blackjack classes were also being given away.
The practices were criticised by anti-gambling campaigners including the independent senator Nick Xenophon, who called them ”grubby tactics”. The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority said it had not seen such public inducements before.
The authority conducted a review that found no breach of the casino’s statutory requirements under its licence, but welcomed an undertaking by the Star to stop the practices.
The authority’s spokesman, Mark Nolan, said: ”The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has confirmed that the Star casino’s promotion – comprising an invitation to a ‘Learn to play blackjack tournament’ and a $5 free bet voucher for use on gaming tables – does not breach statutory requirements.
”Although there is no prohibition on the casino offering free bet vouchers for gaming tables, the authority notes advice from the Star that it has no plan to repeat the type of distribution method used recently in some parts of the CBD.”
The Star, owned by Echo Entertainment, will be forced to find other ways to boost sagging revenue sparked by the sacking of the managing director Sid Vaikunta in February and the casino’s public spat with the O’Farrell government.
The casino is under siege from James Packer, owner of Melbourne’s Crown Casino, who has taken a 10 per cent stake in the group and is keen to exert control in order to build a casino and hotel at Barangaroo.
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