Australian casino operators Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment Group and SkyCity Entertainment Group have been informed by financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC of potentially serious breaches of Anti-Money Laundering laws at their casinos in Perth, Sydney and Adelaide respectively.
According to announcements issued by all three companies early Monday morning, the concerns include potential serious non-compliance with Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules 2007 by Crown Perth, and more specifically with ongoing customer due diligence requirements and the adopting and maintaining of an AML/CTF Program at The Star Sydney and SkyCity Adelaide.
The concerns were identified as part of a respective compliance assessments undertaken by AUSTRAC into both companies. The investigation into SkyCity Adelaide was launched in September 2019 focusing on its management of customers identified as high risk and politically exposed persons during the periods from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 and 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.
A similar investigation was launched into the compliance of Crown Melbourne Limited in October 2020 which turned up potential breaches by Crown Perth.
The matter has now been referred to AUSTRAC’s Enforcement Team which has initiated a formal enforcement investigation into the compliance of Crown Perth, The Star Sydney and SkyCity Adelaide.
SkyCity said via an announcement that it has received notification from AUSTRAC that it will request further information from SkyCity as part of its investigation.
“SkyCity will fully co-operate with AUSTRAC in relation to those inquiries and with the investigation of SkyCity Adelaide,” SkyCity said.
“SkyCity takes its anti-money laundering responsibilities and obligations very seriously. SkyCity has processes and practices in place in its business to detect and prevent money laundering and continually reviews these to ensure it meets all anti-money laundering requirements.”
Crown added, “Crown Perth will fully co-operate with AUSTRAC in relation to this process.”
Star said, “The Star takes its anti-money laundering obligations very seriously and will fully co-operate with AUSTRAC in relation to its requests for information and documents and the investigation.”
News of such potential serious breaches follows revelations surrounding AML compliance issues around Australia’s largest casino operator, Crown Resorts, during an inquiry into its suitability to hold a NSW state casino license held last year. Crown was subsequently found unsuitable, sparking the launch of two Royal Commissions into Crown’s operations in Victoria and Western Australia. Both are ongoing.
SkyCity has itself already responded to concerns raised as part of the Crown inquiries about the role of Asian junkets, announcing in April it would permanently cease all dealings with junket operators and bring its international VIP operations in-house.