7 Dec 2022

SkyCity faces civil penalty proceedings over alleged breaches at Adelaide casino

11:12 am on 7 December 2022
Generic gambling

The breaches have been alleged against SkyCity Entertainment's Adelaide casino (file picture). Photo: bondvit/123RF

Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment is facing civil penalty proceedings in Australia, over alleged breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

SkyCity said it had been informed by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) that it intended to file civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia today.

The breaches were alleged against the company's Adelaide casino.

The proceedings follow an investigation, which began in June last year, into the casino's compliance with the Australian Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.

In a statement, AUSTRAC covered six main allegations.

  • It alleged SkyCity failed to appropriately assess the money laundering and terrorism financing risks it faced, including the likelihood and impact of those risks, and to identify and respond to changes in risk over time.
  • That in its anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism finance (AML/CTF) programmes, the casino did not include appropriate risk-based systems and controls to mitigate and manage risks to which SkyCity was reasonably exposed.
  • The casino failed to establish an appropriate framework for board and senior management oversight of those AML/CTF programmes.
  • It did not have a transaction monitoring programme to monitor transactions and identify suspicious activity that was appropriately risk-based or appropriate to the nature, size and complexity of SkyCity.
  • It did not conduct appropriate ongoing customer due diligence on a range of customers who presented higher money laundering risks.

AUSTRAC deputy chief executive Peter Soros said its investigations found "systemic failures" in SkyCity's approach to AML/CTF obligations.

"The requirement for regulated entities to have appropriate AML/CTF controls and systems in place is not optional and should be taken seriously by all businesses regulated by AUSTRAC," Soros said.

SkyCity said the Adelaide casino "places the utmost importance on compliance with its regulatory obligations".

The company said once it received the claim it would give "careful consideration" before it responded.

It said if AUSTRAC's claim was to be accepted by the Federal Court, SkyCity Adelaide may be subject to a civil penalty.

"SkyCity understands that AUSTRAC has not yet identified the level of penalty it intends to seek," it told the sharemarket.

SkyCity said it would not comment further on the allegations as it would be before the court.

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