SkyCity Says South Australian AML, Suitability Investigations Ongoing
New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment Group has confirmed it is continuing to work with Australian financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC as well as the commissioner of an independent review as part of two separate and ongoing investigations into the operations of its Australian casino, SkyCity Adelaide.
SkyCity was named in June 2021, alongside fellow casino operators Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group, as the subject of investigation by AUSTRAC over potential series breaches to national anti-money laundering laws, although only Crown has since become the subject of civil proceedings against it.
South Australia’s Liquor and Gambling regulator later announced it is commissioning an independent review of casino operations in the state in response to the findings of recent inquiries into Crown and Star in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, all of which have uncovered significant failings of governance.
While both investigations into SkyCity have largely remained under the radar, the company’s Chairman, Julian Cook, told investors during the Annual General Meeting that both were ongoing.
He said: “We continue to cooperate with AUSTRAC in relation to its enforcement investigation, which commenced in June 2021, into potential serious non-compliance by SkyCity Adelaide. That engagement has included the provision of information and documents required by AUSTRAC We are continuing to respond to a significant number of questions and information requests from AUSTRAC which we are treating very seriously.
“AUSTRAC has not filed proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide to date, or indicated whether any enforcement action will occur. However, given that AUSTRAC’s enforcement action investigation is ongoing and we have identified where certain enhancements to the AML and CTF programme are required, there is a possibility that AUSTRAC could bring an enforcement action against SkyCity Adelaide.
“Any such action, and any associated penalties, could have a significant financial and reputational impact on SkyCity.”
Cook also confirmed that SkyCity was working with Brian Martin KC, who is leading the independent review into SkyCity Adelaide, and is supplying various information and documents to him. Martin is due to report back to the regulator by 1 February 2023.
NSW Greens Launch Plan to Rein in Online Gambling
The Greens have launched their plan to regulate online gambling at a state and federal level to reduce gambling harms.
The Greens plan to Rein in Online Gambling would:
- Establish a National Independent Gambling Regulator.
- Regulate online gambling to reduce gambling harms with mandatory pre-commitment and a universal exclusion scheme across all platforms.
- Ban all gambling advertising including TV, radio and online ads.
- Regulate gambling in video games and prohibit “loot boxes” being accessible by people under 18.
- End the grip of the gambling industry on politics by banning political donations from the gambling industry restricting politicians and public servants from working for the gambling industry.
Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and gambling harm reduction spokesperson, said: “Online gambling is the fastest growing form of gambling but our governments have failed to keep up. Our plan will rein in online gambling and place restrictions on advertising in an effort to limit the untold damage it is causing.
“Young people are particularly vulnerable to the harms caused by online gambling. Without proper regulation, we are letting the predatory gambling industry addict an entire generation of young people.
“You can gamble online anywhere using your phone. This makes it incredibly difficult for people experiencing gambling harms to reduce their exposure to online gambling.
“The controls in our plan will give people some power over online gambling platforms and make it easier for them to control their spending.
“Gambling advertising has made enjoying sport synonymous with having a punt. Seven out of ten people want to see gambling advertisements banned so that’s exactly what the Greens will do.
“This plan will prohibit gambling advertising anywhere, anytime, in the same way as tobacco advertising was banned years ago.”
Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for Gambling Reform, said: “We need an independent National Gambling Regulator to reign in the harm caused by this insidious industry.
“The Greens plan will see independent regulatory oversight at a Federal level, crack down on companies that refuse to enforce online gambling restrictions, and stop the gambling industry from exploiting kids through video games and targeted ads.
“It’s no surprise the gambling industry has been allowed to run amok for decades when both Labor and the Liberals accept huge sums of money from corporate donors looking to peddle influence.
“The Greens are fighting to bring integrity back into politics and ban political donations from big corporations. It’s time for all politicians to represent the interests of the people who elected them, not the interests of the donor class and corporate lobbyists.”
ACMA Blocks More Illegal Offshore Gambling and Affiliate Marketing Websites
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested that Australian internet service providers (ISPs) block more illegal offshore gambling websites and affiliate-marketing websites.
The latest sites blocked include Casino Jax, Mirax Casino, Wild Fortune Casino, Kosmonaut Casino, Slotozen, Rolling Slots, N1 Bet Casino and No Deposit Kings.
The ACMA undertook investigations that found these sites to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.
Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal online gambling. Since the ACMA made its first blocking request, 709 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked. Over 180 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing new illegal offshore gambling rules in 2017.
Nuvei Announces Next Step in its Global Expansion Plan with Australia Launch
Nuvei Corporation, the Canadian fintech company, announced that businesses operating in Australia can now access its full suite of market-leading payments solutions including acquiring, processing, alternative payment methods and risk management.
Australian businesses operating locally and globally will benefit from Nuvei’s cutting-edge, agile technology that’s built to accelerate their growth. Nuvei’s payments platform enables businesses to optimise operating costs and boost conversion rates by maximising payments acceptance, minimising risk, and enhancing the consumer payment experience. This includes offering all local and relevant payment methods.
Launching in Australia is the latest initiative from Nuvei as it continues to grow its presence and capabilities in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, following its successful launch in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2022.
“Our mission is to help our customers connect with their customers regardless of location, payment method or currency. Launching in Australia is a natural step for our continued expansion in APAC, having already established a strong and growing presence in the region,” Nuvei Chair and CEO Philip Fayer said.
Nuvei is launching in Australia having secured regulatory and scheme licenses to support customers with local acquiring in the country.
“We know the role local acquiring plays in payments optimization, which is why Nuvei’s local acquiring network across the globe is unparalleled. Being able to support merchants in Hong Kong, Singapore, and now Australia with local acquiring solutions demonstrates our commitment to our customers’ growth,” Fayer added.
While debit and credit card payments are the preeminent online payment method for Australian consumers, alternative payment methods (APMs) are also growing in popularity. Nuvei technology enables businesses to accept all the relevant payment methods in the region (including local currencies for cross-border transactions) in addition to card acquiring. This includes New Payments Platform (NPP), Australia’s account-to-account fast payments open access infrastructure, giving consumers even more choice over their payments experience.
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