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SkyCity chairman: We’ll probably admit to breaking the law

Madison Reidy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Oct 2023, 11:32am

SkyCity chairman: We’ll probably admit to breaking the law

Madison Reidy, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Oct 2023, 11:32am

SkyCity chairman Julian Cook says the company will probably admit allegations that its Australian casino operation breached anti-money laundering laws and pay a multi-million dollar penalty.

“We are yet to strike a final agreement with Austrac, but, if we do, it will most likely include admissions of such nature,” Cook told Markets with Madison.

“We will probably be paying a fine.”

Australian financial regulator Austrac alleged serious and systemic non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws in SkyCity’s Adelaide casino in December last year.

A final outcome has not yet been reached but SkyCity has put A$45 million (NZ$49.5m) aside to pay for potential penalties relating to potential failings.

Cook noted at its annual shareholder meeting last week that the actual fine may vary.

At that same meeting on Friday he told shareholders he was “unvarnished” and admitted many mistakes had been made within the business.

They included failings with its facial recognition tool in its New Zealand casinos to detect problem gamblers, used as part of its adherence to host responsibility rules.

That was the crux of a customer complaint that could result in a 10-day suspension of its licence nationwide.

Asked whether that issue could result in more complaints and suspensions, Cook said, “never say never”.

Investors have been selling the stock, pushing its share price down 34 per cent in the past year and by 50 per cent in the past five years to $1.90.

Watch this interview with Julian Cook in today’s episode of Markets with Madison above to hear what he’s doing to lift the entertainment group’s compliance standards and its market valuation.

Get investment insights from the experts on Markets with Madison every Monday and Friday on the NZ Herald.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this programme is of a general nature, and is not intended to be personalised financial advice. We encourage you to seek appropriate advice from a qualified professional to suit your individual circumstances.

Stake is the proud sponsor of Markets with Madison. Stake your claim today at HelloStake.com.

Madison Reidy is the host of New Zealand’s only financial markets show Markets with Madison. She joined the Herald in 2022 after working in investment, and has covered business and economics for television and radio broadcasters.

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