by Antoni Majewski

SkyCity Agrees to $75 Million Penalty for Anti-Money Laundering Breaches

SkyCity, a prominent casino operator, has consented to a substantial penalty of approximately $75 million (A$70 million) following allegations of non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations in its Adelaide casino, Australia. This resolution comes after Australian authorities initiated civil penalty proceedings against the casino in December 2022.


Key Developments:

  • Financial Provisions: SkyCity has allocated a total of $79 million (A$73 million) to cover the anticipated penalty and associated legal expenses, marking an increase from the initial $49 million (A$45 million) set aside for this purpose.
  • Legal Expenses Estimate: Analysts from Forsyth Barr project that the legal costs involved in the case could range from A$1 million to A$3 million.
  • Settlement Agreement: The agreement between SkyCity and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) outlines the specific breaches the company will acknowledge and the penalty amount. Finalization of this agreement depends on drafting a mutually accepted statement of facts and admissions.
  • Judicial Review: Although both parties have reached a consensus and informed the court, the final penalty amount is subject to judicial approval. A court hearing is scheduled for June to deliberate on the appropriateness of the proposed penalty.

Ongoing Regulatory Challenges:

SkyCity faces additional regulatory scrutiny beyond this settlement. The South Australian government is in the process of evaluating the suitability of SkyCity’s Adelaide casino license. Furthermore, the company is confronted with the potential suspension of its casino license in New Zealand.

SkyCity has refrained from commenting further on the matter, emphasizing that the final penalty and legal costs are contingent upon the court’s discretion.

Implications for SkyCity

The settlement agreement with Austrac represents a step towards resolving the legal challenges faced by SkyCity in Australia. However, the company must navigate remaining regulatory investigations and potential repercussions on its operations in both Australia and New Zealand.

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