12 Feb 2024

SkyCity to face civil proceedings filed by Department of Internal Affairs

12:19 pm on 12 February 2024
Sky city in Auckland CBD.

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Internal Affairs is taking the management arm of the casino operator SkyCity to court in a civil case related to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.

SkyCity, which holds a casino operator's licence for SkyCity Auckland, SkyCity Hamilton and SkyCity Queenstown casinos in New Zealand, will appear in the High Court on Friday to face five separate actions.

SkyCity last week agreed with Australian authorities to pay a penalty of about $75 million for alleged breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws relating to its Adelaide casino.

The Australian state investigation into SkyCity's Adelaide casino licence was still ongoing, as well as a New Zealand Gambling Commission investigation into a complaint about a breach of host responsibility, between August 2017 and February 2021.

SkyCity said in a statement to the market the New Zealand causes of action alleged significant compliance issues, which were largely historical, though not exclusively.

"Some matters relate to incidents of non-compliance which have previously been self-reported to the department," it said, adding it had been addressing those issues since late 2021.

"This has involved, and continues to involve, significant investment in people and technology, and various reviews of SkyCity's processes and systems to identify areas which require improvement."

The company said it was "disappointed" that it had not met the standard to which it needed to hold itself, and it was engaged constructively with the department in relation to the proposed proceedings, with a view to resolving those matters "expeditiously".

"Given that the matter will be before the court, it would be inappropriate for SkyCity to comment further at this stage," it said.

SkyCity estimated its maximum liability in relation to the five claims would be $8m in total.