SkyCity Says South Australian AML, Suitability Investigations Ongoing

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New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment Group has confirmed it is continuing to work with Australian financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC as well as the commissioner of an independent review as part of two separate and ongoing investigations into the operations of its Australian casino, SkyCity Adelaide.

SkyCity was named in June 2021, alongside fellow casino operators Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group, as the subject of investigation by AUSTRAC over potential series breaches to national anti-money laundering laws, although only Crown has since become the subject of civil proceedings against it.

South Australia’s Liquor and Gambling regulator later announced it is commissioning an independent review of casino operations in the state in response to the findings of recent inquiries into Crown and Star in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, all of which have uncovered significant failings of governance.

While both investigations into SkyCity have largely remained under the radar, the company’s Chairman, Julian Cook, told investors during the Annual General Meeting that both were ongoing.

He said: “We continue to cooperate with AUSTRAC in relation to its enforcement investigation, which commenced in June 2021, into potential serious non-compliance by SkyCity Adelaide. That engagement has included the provision of information and documents required by AUSTRAC We are continuing to respond to a significant number of questions and information requests from AUSTRAC which we are treating very seriously.

“AUSTRAC has not filed proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide to date, or indicated whether any enforcement action will occur. However, given that AUSTRAC’s enforcement action investigation is ongoing and we have identified where certain enhancements to the AML and CTF programme are required, there is a possibility that AUSTRAC could bring an enforcement action against SkyCity Adelaide.

“Any such action, and any associated penalties, could have a significant financial and reputational impact on SkyCity.”

Cook also confirmed that SkyCity was working with Brian Martin KC, who is leading the independent review into SkyCity Adelaide, and is supplying various information and documents to him. Martin is due to report back to the regulator by 1 February 2023.

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