SkyCity continues to work with AUSTRAC, warns of potential risks

Posted: Oct 28, 2022 14:22 Category: Asia , Land-Based , Regulatory , Posted by Sharon Singleton

SkyCity Entertainment said it was continuing to answer a “significant” number of questions from Australia’s financial crimes watchdog in relation to its Adelaide casino and that probe may have a significant impact on the group.

The New Zealand-based operator said it was continuing to work with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) over an investigation that began in June 2021. 

Speaking at the group’s annual meeting, Chairman Julian Cook said that the probe is ongoing and that it had identified certain areas where enhancements to the Adelaide Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Program are required.

SkyCity noted it’s possible that AUSTRAC could bring an enforcement action against the company. 

“It’s important to note that any such action, and any associated penalties, could have a significant financial and reputational impact on SkyCity.” 

SkyCity is also continuing to cooperate with the Honourable Brian Martin KC on behalf of Consumer and Business Services in Australia in response to an independent review of SkyCity Adelaide announced in July. 

Findings from that probe are expected to be reported to the South Australian Liquor and Gambling Commissioner by Feb. 1, next year.

SkyCity working on governance

Cook outlined measures the operator had taken to improve its corporate governance procedures to tackle AML concerns, including introducing specific requirements related to compliance into executive pay structures. 

This includes clawback provisions for incentive plans.

“Our new balanced scorecard ensures that executive remuneration is aligned with SkyCity’s performance in relation to compliance, with 20 percent of all short-term incentive scorecard goals being specifically related to AML, host responsibility and health and safety targets,” he said. 

Australia’s gambling industry has been in the regulatory crosshairs since 2019, when an investigative documentary into Crown Resorts found serious breaches of corporate governance practices and cases of money laundering. 

The report triggered a series of regulatory probes, which all found the company to be unsuitable to hold its casino licenses in the states in which it operates. The spotlight was then focused on rival Star Entertainment, which was also found to be unsuitable. 

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