Australian gaming company SkyCity Entertainment Group faces nearly $50 million in penalties for admitted breaches of anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations in Australia and New Zealand.

The fines are set to be handed down by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), pending court approval. In the AUSTRAC case, announced Friday, SkyCity Adelaide agreed to pay 67 million Australian dollars (U.S. $44.7 million), while the DIA on Tuesday announced a proposed 4.16 million New Zealand dollars (U.S. $2.5 million) penalty.

The totals surpass what SkyCity had said it reserved—about $29 million—back in August.

The details: The New Zealand regulator detailed the ways SkyCity’s AML/CFT program breached the country’s obligations from February 2018 to March 2023, including regarding:

  • Risk assessments;
  • Establishing, implementing, and maintaining an AML/CFT compliance program;
  • Monitoring accounts and transactions;
  • Conducting enhanced customer due diligence; and
  • Terminating existing business relationships when required.

AUSTRAC specified that the company did not carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence with respect to certain higher risk customers and customers transacting through higher risk channels.

SkyCity acknowledged its deficiencies, with Executive Chair Julian Cook saying in a press release the regulators are “rightly holding SkyCity to account.”

“We have fallen short of the standards we should hold ourselves to, alongside failing to meet the expectations of our regulators, customers, shareholders, and the communities we are part of,” Cook said. “We are committed to, and have begun, delivering the level of change that is required to meet these expectations.”

Compliance considerations: Among actions SkyCity has taken to improve its AML/CFT program include:

  • Refreshing its board;
  • Creating a dedicated risk and compliance committee to oversee its AML/CFT obligations;
  • Adopting a three lines of accountability framework;
  • Enhancing audit scrutiny; and
  • Applying higher standards of due diligence to customers where appropriate.

“We remain committed to ensuring that we provide safe and responsible experiences and environments for our people and customers and will continue to engage cooperatively and constructively with our regulators,” said Cook.