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Massive Fine Possible for Australian Online Casino Operator Due to AML Violations

Popular casino provider SkyCity Entertainment Group, which has its headquarters in New Zealand, is making emergency plans for the worst-case scenario. It is currently the subject of 2 investigations that are connected to its casino which is located in Adelaide, Australia. It is putting aside a sizeable amount of money in preparation for the possibility of being required to pay enormous fines.

Home / News / Massive Fine Possible for Australian Online Casino Operator Due to AML Violations

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Two major organisations within the Aussie gambling industry, which are the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner (OLGC) as well as the Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) of Australia, are both investigating the situation.

They are reacting to complaints that the Adelaide casino operated by SkyCity Entertainment, on several occasions, had failed to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) protocols.

The inquiry brings to mind the controversies that are still unfolding with regard to Star Entertainment and also Crown Resorts. SkyCity is prepared for whatever may lie ahead as a result of the record-breaking penalties that were issued against both of those gaming companies throughout Australia.

Chairman Of SkyCity Adelaide

Last Friday, Glenn Davis, who was recently named chairman of SkyCity Adelaide, addressed the firm’s shareholders and informed them that measures had been made for the worst-case scenario.

SkyCity is ensuring that it has adequate funds to meet any potential financial fines that might be imposed in the occasion that AUSTRAC and the gambling authority find that violations that merit financial penalties happened.

In July of this year, the OLGC began conducting an unofficial examination as a follow-up to the inquiries into Star and Crown. Both of them were in violation of anti-money-laundering rules in the state of New South Wales (NSW), as well as in Queensland and many other states.

The regulating body said not too long ago that it will release a report on the findings of the investigation in February of the next year.

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What Happened in Previous Years

As of June 2021, AUSTRAC had been conducting an inquiry that is far more comprehensive. Shareholders were informed by the chair of SkyCity Entertainment, Julian Cook, that the financial regulator had returned 9 times with requests for further evidence.

As per Cook, the AUSTRAC investigation of the Adelaide casino back in 2016 did not uncover any problems with the establishment. In 2019, when it started looking into the matter more closely, it found issues that dated back to the mentioned period.

There were further inquiries on more potential instances of “serious non-compliance” which might have taken place during the financial years of 2018 & 2019. When the Crown scandal was reaching its peak, these issues made it almost difficult for SkyCity to take any steps forward toward acquiring a casino permit in the state of New South Wales.

The Shareholders Displeasure

During the shareholder’s meeting that took place the previous Friday (28th October), one of SkyCity’s shareholders came up and accused the personnel of the firm of being “behind the eight ball” in regard to AML regulations.

The unnamed shareholder expressed their displeasure with SkyCity’s lazy attitude toward the regulations and its failure to take preventative measures to ensure that it was adhering to the requirements.

Cook deflected the inquiry and answered it, stating that he was aware of the problems and describing the circumstance as “disappointing.” He claimed that the casino SkyCity is currently adopting a “single focus” in a bid to correct the deficiencies.

Several of these measures include the establishment of a specialized compliance group, a rise in the number of personnel assigned to compliance, and expenditures in infrastructure. In light of the fact that all these improvements are not proactive but rather reactive, there remains the possibility that authorities would impose a financial penalty against SkyCity Entertainment.

According to the firm’s CEO, Michael Ahearne, the amount of “liquidity headroom” available to the business is greater than 3 times the amount that it anticipates. This would mean that they are able to keep everything under regular operating standards. Time is the only thing that can show us if it’s sufficient.