Home » SkyCity Entertainment settles $73.6m with Australian watchdog over law breaches

SkyCity Entertainment settles $73.6m with Australian watchdog over law breaches

The penalty, which has to be approved by the Australian Federal Court, was above most forecasts on investment analysts.
Photo: 123RF / Andrey Moisseyev

Gaming company SkyCity Entertainment has cut a deal with Australia’s financial watchdog to settle breaches of anti-money laundering laws at its Adelaide casino.

It announced after the close of the local share market that it has agreed with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to pay A$67 million (NZ$73.6m) in penalties for the breaches, which occurred between 2016 and 2022.

SkyCity chairperson Julian Cook said the company had a key role in combating money laundering but had fallen short.

“While we take this responsibility seriously, we accept we have failed to live up to the standard required of us and for this, on behalf of the SkyCity and SkyCity Adelaide Boards and management teams, I apologise.”

“We know we need to do better to meet the expectations of our regulators, customers and our shareholders, and this is a process that is already underway.”

The company had already taken steps to improve its training, monitoring and compliance systems and processes, but accepted it had more to do, he said.

“We are determined to continually lift our AML/CTF [anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism] practices, comply with our obligations and uphold our customer, community and regulatory expectations. We remain committed to ensuring that we provide safe and responsible experiences and environments for our people and customers, and will continue to engage co-operatively and constructively with our regulators.”

The penalty, which has to be approved by the Australian Federal Court, was above most forecasts on investment analysts.

AUSTRAC said SkyCity had not done the necessary checking on high-risk gamblers and claimed as much as A$4 billion might have been laundered through the Adelaide casino since 2016, with large amounts of notes being used, sometimes in dirty condition, in envelopes and plastic bags.

SkyCity’s running of the Adelaide casino faces further scrutiny from a South Australia state government agency.

In New Zealand, the company faces allegations of breaches of money laundering rules, and the threat of a temporary suspension of its local casino licence for breaches of the host responsibility code.