AUSTRAC Launches Probe Into Crown Perth and SkyCity Adelaide
Australia’s casino industry has been shaken up over the last few months as it biggest casino operator Crown Resorts is under investigation by gaming regulators in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia for non-compliance with gaming regulations. One of those breaches includes failure to comply with anti-money laundering laws.
Crown Resorts is currently being reviewed by the The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) and more details are coming out which has caused concern for the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) – the financial watchdog in the country.
AUSTRAC Investigation – Crown
AUSTRAC has already launched an investigation into Crown Melbourne’s activities but has now confirmed that it will expand the scope of its investigation to include Crown Perth. Crown Resorts has confirmed that it will fully cooperate with the financial watchdog during the investigation.
The investigation was launched after AUSTRAC admitted to discovering alleged serious non-compliance with regards to its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument and Australian Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.
This isn’t great news for Crown Resorts as the troubled casino operator is looking to clear its name and discuss the potential of a sale to rival Star Entertainment who has already submitted a non-binding acquisition proposal.
AUSTRAC Investigation – SkyCity
AUSTRAC also confirmed that it was going after SkyCity Entertainment Group, a casino operator that is based in New Zealand but operates a single casino in Adelaide, South Australia. SkyCity confirmed that it had received an official notice from the financial watchdog informing them that a formal investigation was launched.
The investigation will look into SkyCity Adelaide’s dealings during 2015 and 2019. There are suspicions that multiple customers who were high risk and had political ties were entertained at the casino and anti-money laundering laws were breached. SkyCity confirmed that they will extend their full cooperation to AUSTRAC during the investigation.
AUSTRAC confirmed that it had yet to hold any discussions on what regulatory actions would be appropriate on SkyCity Adelaide. There is no indication as of now if AUSTRAC will impose any penalties or take any regulatory action. SkyCity has sent out a notice to its shareholders informing them of the investigation into potential non-compliance issues that are being considered as serious breaches.
The multiple breaches of Crown Resorts that have been brought to light in the last 12 months and now a potential breach by SkyCity Adelaide, make it clear that state regulators and AUSTRAC need to do more to get Australia’s licensed casino operators to take their compliance measures to anti-money laundering regulations a lot more seriously.