SkyCity Entertainment’s SkyCity Casino Management (SCML) brand has found itself in hot water in New Zealand as the local Department of Internal Affairs prepares to launch civil proceedings against the operator.

The case is set to be filed in four days and stems from alleged AML violations. According to the department, the gambling company has breached the New Zealand Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.

As a result, SCML, which operates the SkyCity casinos in Auckland, Hamilton and Queensland, now risks a fine of $4.9 million.

SkyCity confirmed that it is aware of the proceedings and vowed to cooperate with the Department of Internal Affairs to identify and tackle any issues. In a statement, a spokesperson said that the operator is “disappointed that it has not met the standards to which it needs to hold itself.”

SMCL and its parent company reiterated their commitment to collaborating with the department in relation to the proceedings and resolving the matter as soon as possible. The operator also promised to work hard to bolster its AML and CTF processes.

Details of the violations SkyCity allegedly committed are not available as of the time of this writing. However, SkyCity mentioned that it had self-reported some of these incidents to the relevant departments.

SkyCity Struggles to Get Its AML Matters Under Control

Back in 2021, SkyCity launched an AML and CTF enhancement program in an attempt to address its historical deficiencies. In order to tackle its shortcomings, the company invested in technology and manpower, hoping to improve its practices.

However, this hasn’t prevented the company from finding itself in trouble.

In September 2023, SkyCity announced that it risks getting its license suspended for 10 days or more. The suspension risks had to do with an application by the Secretary of the Department of Internal Affairs which addresses a case from February 2022.

It is unclear whether that case bears any connection to the current civil proceedings risked by SkyCity.

In August, the company also set aside $29.2 million for a potential AML and CTF penalty amid AUSTRAC proceedings in Australia. The financial intelligence agency claimed the company has allowed 59 suspicious patrons to launder billions of Australian dollars at its property in Adelaide.

Fiona Simmons

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