Sydney’s troubled Star Casino can’t catch a break. Star parent outfit Echo Entertainment had hoped to install Mark Brown, a former protégé of failed presidential candidate and coonskin-cap aficionado Donald Trump, as the Star’s international marketing manager, but New South Wales gaming authorities have denied Brown’s special employee license application. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that neither Star management nor the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority had provided a reason for the rejection. Brown previously ran both the Sands and Venetian in Macau. Las Vegas Sands is currently under investigation by US authorities over alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act involving its Macau operations.
Undaunted, Echo Entertainment is forging ahead with plans to replace disgraced Star managing director Sid Vaikunta with Frederic Luvisutto, former managing director of Jupiters Gold Coast. On Thursday, Echo announced that Luvisutto had been given the nod from regulators to officially commence his new posting. Vaikunta was let go a couple months back after an alleged “very serious incident of physical touching” of former senior Star exec Peter Grimshaw’s partner at a company function. Meanwhile, a former Star blackjack dealer told the inquiry into the shenanigans at the casino that high-rollers were allowed to remain at the gaming tables for up to 72 hours at a stretch after Vaikunta took over as manager.
As predicted, last month’s court victory by New South Wales racing bodies over Betfair and Sportsbet has got other sports talking about revisiting their own financial deals with betting outfits. Following the ruling, which upheld the 1.5% turnover fee charged by the racing bodies, Racing NSW Peter V’landys claimed there would be “ramifications for other sporting bodies.” Now figures in the Australian Rugby League (ARL) are looking at their deals with betting outfits – which currently pay 5% of profits to the ARL – and feeling like they can do better.
Penrith Panthers GM Phil Gould told the Blacktown Sun that league administrators had “missed the boat” by not insisting on a turnover model when they signed their last deals with betting operators. The ARL’s current deal with Aussie betting powerhouse Tabcorp expires in 2013. Gould claimed the lack of foresight had cost the sport “tens of millions of dollars” but acknowledged that Racing NSW’s example had opened “opportunities for the future.” Gould figures a turnover fee arrangement could bring in an extra $15m a year from bookies. Sportsbet CEO Cormac Barry said he expected other sports would at least consider following Racing NSW’s lead, but cautioned them that “because of the nature of sports betting, there is no pot of gold there for them.”