After being fined millions of dollars for allegations of problem gambling and money laundering, the SkyCity Entertainment Group is once again facing legal troubles. This time, the Australian State Department of Internal Affairs is taking over the management of SkyCity in response to civil case allegations regarding the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Act.
The company holds casino licenses for SkyCity Auckland, SkyCity Hamilton, and SkyCity Queenstown in New Zealand, and is set to appear before the High Court on February 16, 2024, to face five separate legal actions related to the AML and CFT allegations. These actions come shortly after the company reached an agreement with Australian authorities regarding the alleged breach of AML and CFT laws at its Adelaide casino, resulting in a $75 million fine.
Investigations are ongoing, with Australian state authorities looking into SkyCity’s Adelaide casino license and the New Zealand Gambling Commission investigating a complaint about a breach of host responsibility between August 2017 and February 2021. SkyCity has acknowledged significant compliance issues, some of which are historical and have been previously self-reported to the department.
The company has been addressing these issues since late 2021, investing significantly in people and technology, and conducting various reviews of its processes and systems. Despite expressing disappointment in its failure to meet the required standards, SkyCity has stated that it is engaged with the Internal Affairs Department to resolve the issues in an expeditious manner. As the matter heads to court, the company has refrained from further comments.
The five claims filed against SkyCity Entertainment Group are estimated to potentially impose a maximum liability of around $8 million. It remains to be seen how the company will navigate through these legal challenges and address the compliance issues in question.