SkyCity Adelaide casino licence suitability investigation to be resumed

SkyCity Adelaide Casino
Image: Neil Cox/Shutterstock

An independent review into the suitability of SkyCity Adelaide to hold a casino licence will soon be resumed by the Honourable Brian Martin AO KC.

The resumption of the investigation follows the conclusion of the casino’s proceedings with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre for its breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

Investigations into SkyCity Adelaide began in July 2022, after Consumer and Business Services, the South Australia gambling regulator, appointed Martin to conduct an independent review under section 22(2) of the Casino Act 1997 (SA) regarding “the suitability of SkyCity Adelaide to continue to hold the SkyCity Adelaide casino licence and the suitability of SkyCity to continue to be a close associate of SkyCity Adelaide”.

However, in February 2023, the investigation was put on hold as Martin advised former Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Dini Soulio that he was unable to determine the question of whether the casino was suitable to hold a licence until the AUSTRAC proceedings had been resolved.

SkyCity Adelaide was then directed by the commissioner to appoint an independent monitor to “oversee a program of work aimed at ensuring the casino was meeting its anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing obligations and its obligations in relation to minimising gambling harm”.

Last week, following joint submissions filed by SkyCity and AUSTRAC, the Federal Court of Australia ordered SkyCity Adelaide to pay a A$67m penalty to AUSTRAC for the AML/CTF Act breaches.

With the conclusion of the AUSTRAC proceedings, Acting Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Fraser Stroud has requested for Martin to recommence the investigation, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“Given the AUSTRAC proceedings have now been finalised, I have determined that Mr Martin’s review should recommence,” commented Stroud.

“Given his knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and the considerable work he had done prior to the AUSTRAC proceedings beginning, resuming this work will be the most effective way to determine the suitability of the casino licensee.

“Since Mr Martin’s review was placed on hold, Kroll Australia has been appointed to oversee SkyCity Adelaide’s work in addressing deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations.

“These developments will be taken into account as Mr Martin resumes his investigation.”

In a statement, SkyCity and SkyCity Adelaide noted that they will “continue to cooperate with Consumer and Business Services and the Acting Commissioner in relation to the independent review”.