SkyCity reaches agreement with DIA on New Zealand AML charges

SkyCity Casino Management has been handed a penalty of NZ$4.16m.  

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SkyCity has reached an agreement with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) on historical non-compliance by SkyCity Casino Management against the New Zealand Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.  

The civil penalty proceedings began in February, with the agreement stating that, between 2018 and 2023, SkyCity Casino Management has indeed committed breaches against the act. This is despite audit reports from the DIA beginning from 2014, which noted ‘deficiencies in SkyCity’s AML/CFT risk assessment and programme’ which were not resolved until mid-2021. 

In admitting to breaching its obligations to completing complaint risk assessment, compliance programmes, monitoring accounts and conducting compliant customer due diligence, SkyCity Casino Management has been handed a civil penalty of NZ$4.16m (US$2.54m). 

As part of SkyCity’s resolution to reported deficiencies, since late 2021 the operator has refreshed its board, bringing on directors with expertise in risk assessment and creating a committee dedicated to risk and compliance obligations. SkyCity also stated that it has increased customer due diligence, ceased junket operations and lowered its tolerance to risk, among other changes. 

This resolution comes following SkyCity’s proposal to the Federal Court of Australia for a penalty of AU$67m (US$44.6m) for offenses against the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, concluded in collaboration with The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).  

On this, SkyCity Executive Chair Julian Cook said: “Our enhancement activities remain ongoing and we have further important work to do in New Zealand and Australia which will take time to complete. We have commended a comprehensive multi-year transformation programme to strengthen how we manage risk across the SkyCity Group.” 

On the agreement made with the DIA, Cook stated: “On behalf of the SkyCity Board and management team, I accept and apologies for these long standing failings. 

“We have fallen short of the standards we should hold ourselves to, alongside failing to meet the expectations of our regulators, customers, shareholders and the communities we are part of.”

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