The Star Sydney, formerly known as Star City Casino, is a casino and hotel complex located in Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia. The casino opened in 1995 and is owned and operated by The Star Entertainment Group.
In recent years The Star Casino has also seen controversy regarding underpaying its employees and scandals involving high-roller clientele. In 2022 Star Entertainment Group were forced to repay approximately $13 million in payments to 2200 Star Sydney staff who had been underpaid over a six-year period. In 2021 The Star Casino was linked to Alvin Chau, a gambling kingpin from Macau with connections to the Chinese Triads. In 2022 it was revealed that the Star Casino had maintained its business with Alvin Chau despite warnings of these links to the criminal group.
The Lockout Laws
The Lockout Laws were a body of laws introduced in 2014 to address alcohol-fuelled violence in Sydney’s nightlife precincts. The new rules included mandating that venues stop serving alcohol after 3am and implement a 1:30am lockout policy. The Star Casino Sydney was exempt from these laws and was permitted to continue operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and serve alcohol throughout, which drew public criticism and influenced the nickname for then-NSW Premier, Mike Baird, as “Casino Mike”. The laws also remained in place despite The Star Sydney becoming the most violent venue in the city a year after the laws were introduced.
The debate surrounding the Star Casino's exemption from the lockout laws continued for several years, with both sides presenting their arguments and evidence. In 2019 the New South Wales government announced that it would be lifting the lockout laws in the Sydney CBD and extending trading hours for venues in the area. This decision meant that the Star Casino's exemption was no longer necessary, and the casino would be subject to the same trading hours as other venues in the city.