SkyCity Facing Legal Action Over Alleged AML Breaches at Adelaide Casino

AUSTRAC claims to have found multiple anti-money laundering failings at casino

by - Thursday, December 8th, 2022 1:00

skycity adelaide

New Zealand casino operator SkyCity Entertainment is facing civil legal action over alleged anti-money laundering (AML) breaches at its Adelaide casino.

The civil proceedings have been brought against the company by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) in the Federal Court of Australia.

The proceedings come following an AUSTRAC investigation which was initiated in June of 2021. The investigation looked into the company’s business activities at its Adelaide property with a specific focus on the casino’s compliance with the Australian Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.

In a statement, AUSTRAC Deputy CEO Peter Soros said AUSTRAC’s investigations into SkyCity had found systemic failures in its approach to AML/CTF obligations:

“AUSTRAC’s investigation identified a range of circumstances where SkyCity failed to carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence. SkyCity also failed to develop and maintain a compliant AML/CTF program, leaving it at risk of criminal exploitation.

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.”

AUSTRAC’s findings allege that the following breaches took place:

  • Failure to assess money laundering and terrorism financing risks it faced
  • No appropriate risk-based systems and controls to mitigate and manage money laundering risks
  • Failed to implement appropriate framework for Board and senior management oversight of the AML/CTF programs
  • No transaction monitoring program to identify suspicious activity
  • Lack of appropriate customer due diligence program for additional checks on higher risk customers
  • No ongoing customer due diligence on customers who presented higher money laundering risks

In its own statement, SkyCity said that it “places the utmost importance on compliance with its regulatory obligations” and would give careful consideration to the civil proceedings and allegations before responding.

Image credit: Michael Coghlan / CC BY-SA 2.0

Natasha Lyndon

Based in London, Natasha is a former sports journalist with experience working for some of the biggest athletes & brands in the world of sports and iGaming.

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