Casino Investigation To Resume

SA Gov

Retired Supreme Court Judge, the Hon Brian Martin AO KC, will soon resume his investigation into the SkyCity Adelaide Casino, after the Casino’s operators were fined $67 million in the Federal Court last week.

Mr Martin’s investigation was placed on hold, after anti-money laundering regulator AUSTRAC commenced proceedings in the Federal Court, accusing SkyCity Adelaide of serious and systemic non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

At the time, Mr Martin advised he could not determine the question of whether SkyCity Adelaide was suitable to hold the Casino licence until the AUSTRAC proceedings were resolved.

As a result of the allegations raised in the AUSTRAC proceedings and preliminary materials from Mr Martin’s work, the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner directed SkyCity Adelaide to appoint an independent monitor to oversee a program of work aimed at ensuring the Casino was meeting its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations and its obligations in relation to minimising gambling harm.

Following the conclusion of the AUSTRAC proceedings, the Acting Liquor and Gambling Commissioner has written to Mr Martin to ask him to recommence the investigation.

SkyCity Adelaide have also been advised.

Mr Martin’s review is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The recommencement of the review follows the Malinauskas Government’s announcement of stronger casino laws.

Under the Government’s proposed laws, the fines faced by the licensee will increase from the current maximum of $100,000 to up to $75 million when imposed through disciplinary action taken by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner.

Provisions relating to disciplinary action will cover both past and future conduct, with measures in place to ensure the Commissioner takes into account penalties already imposed by a court when considering any additional penalties.

The maximum penalties for many criminal offences will also increase under the proposed laws such as offences for failing to keep proper financial accounts, evading the payment of casino duty and failure to take action specified in a compliance notice issued by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner.

As put by Andrea Michaels

The serious and systemic issues raised in the AUSTRAC proceedings simply cannot be ignored.

They are unacceptable and do not meet our expectations of how the holder of South Australia’s only casino licence should be acting.

This independent investigation will be crucial in determining the regulator’s next steps.

In the meantime, we have moved to significantly strengthen the penalties available to the regulator when the state’s gambling laws and conditions of the casino licence are breached, with reforms that would increase penalties to up to $75 million currently being considered by State Parliament.

As put by Acting Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Fraser Stroud

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

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.

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