SkyCity facing potential New Zealand casino licence suspension

Image: SkyCity Entertainment Group

SkyCity Entertainment could be on the brink of receiving a temporary suspension of its casino licence for a period “in the range of 10 days” following a customer complaint. 

The operator issued an update on the potential course of action after being informed by the Department of Internal Affairs that its Secretary, Paul James, intends to make an application regarding such a course of action to the New Zealand Gambling Commission.

SkyCity Casino Management Limited, a subsidiary of SkyCity, is the holder of the casino operator’s licence for its Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown casinos in New Zealand.

A decision will subsequently be assessed by the Commission regarding a potential suspension and duration, however, it is reminded this “may not be forthcoming for a number of months”.

The application follows a customer complaint that was made in February 2022 by a former customer that had gambled at SkyCity’s Auckland-based gaming venue between August 2017 to February 2021. 

It is suggested that the company, which has asserted full cooperation through the ongoing process, did not comply with requirements relating to the detection of incidents of continuous play.

“Given that the application is before the Commission it would be inappropriate for SkyCity to comment further on the application and allegations at this stage,” the company noted.

Under section 144(a) of the New Zealand Gambling Act 2023, a casino licence suspension may be imposed if it is deemed satisfactory that the holder breached the Act, a condition of the casino licence or minimum operating standards.

Should a temporary closure of casino operations be issued, SkyCity has issued an assurance that this would not impact its non-gaming operations, including its hotels and restaurants. 

“SkyCity is committed to maintaining the highest standards of host responsibility best practice, with priority given to minimising the impacts associated with problem gambling as an area of primary focus,” the company continued.

“SkyCity has made, and continues to make, significant investment and enhancements in its host responsibility controls, technology and resources.” 

Last month, South Australia’s Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, Dini Soulio, gave the go ahead to consultancy firm, Kroll Australia, to be appointed as the independent monitor of SkyCity Adelaide.

An independent review into the operations of this facility remains on hold pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings undertaken by AUSTRAC in the Federal Court.

The group has set aside a A$45m provision for a potential AUSTRAC civil penalty and associated legal costs, as well as writing down the value of its Adelaide casino licence by A$45.6m.