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AUSTRAC and SkyCity agree to proposed $67 million penalty

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AUSTRAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Thomas
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SkyCity Adelaide Pty Ltd (SkyCity) and AUSTRAC have filed joint submissions with the Federal Court of Australia, proposing a $67 million penalty over the casino’s contravention of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

A court hearing has been set down for 7 June 2024, at which Justice Lee will consider the parties’ proposed settlement.

While AUSTRAC and SkyCity agree that a $67 million penalty is appropriate in all the circumstances, it is a matter for the court to determine the appropriate penalty.

In reaching this agreement, SkyCity has admitted that it operated in contravention of the AML/CTF Act, including that:

  • its AML/CTF Programs did not meet the requirements of the AML/CTF Act and AML/CTF Rules, in contravention of section 81.
  • it did not carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence with respect to certain higher risk customers and customers transacting through higher risk channels, in contravention of section 36.

“AUSTRAC took this action out of concern that SkyCity’s conduct meant that a range of high-risk practices, behaviours and customer relationships were allowed to continue unchecked for many years,” AUSTRAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Thomas said.

Mr Thomas said the action serves as an important reminder to casinos and the gaming sector to take their AML/CTF obligations seriously and be vigilant to money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

As the matter is before the court for determination, AUSTRAC is unable to comment further on the proceedings.

Australia

Australia Enforces Credit Card Ban for Online Gambling

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Australia has enforced an online gambling credit card ban, meaning that players can no longer use them as a payment method.

Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) and its members have been strong supporters of this measure and have worked with the Commonwealth Government and the financial services industry since 2021 to deliver this credit card ban.

Responsible Wagering Australia CEO Kai Cantwell said that this change was much needed, as Australians should only be gambling with money that they have.

“This is an important measure to protect customers, making it easier for people to stay in control of their own gambling behaviour,” Mr Cantwell said.

“It will complement the existing offering of safer gambling account management tools by RWA members.

“RWA and its members support the extension of this measure to all forms of gambling that have been exempted from the ban such as lotteries and keno.

“If consumer protection measures aren’t consistent across all forms of gambling it will incentivise vulnerable Australians to move to less-regulated types of gambling, where they are more at risk of harm.”

RWA members provide a range of tools to ensure people can gamble safely, many of which have been adopted by the Commonwealth Government as part of the National Consumer Protection Framework (NCPF).

“The NCPF is expected to be evaluated shortly and we look forward to engaging in this process to ensure that consumer protection tools are fit-for-purpose and support a safe and sustainable regulated gambling environment,” Mr Cantwell said.

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Australia

Liquor & Gaming officers help venues prepare for ski season

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Liquor & Gaming NSW compliance officers have headed to the snowfields to help venues prepare for the opening of the snow season this weekend.

They will work with licensed venues around the Snowy Monaro region to help ensure visitors stay safe while relaxing when off the snow fields.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Executive Director Regulatory Operations Jane Lin said venues were sent an industry alert recently, to remind them of the need to prioritise the safe and responsible service of alcohol during the snow season.

“This pre-season visit by our inspectors aims to help venues and their staff understand their responsibilities under Responsible Service of Alcohol requirements to ensure they have a successful season while keeping their patrons safe,” she said.

“The NSW ski fields attract thousands of visitors each year, and we want to ensure that people stay safe when relaxing or partying in a licensed venue after a day on the slopes.”

Venues should ensure that:

  • alcohol is served responsibly
  • procedures are in place to prevent minors being served alcohol
  • there is an emphasis on crowd control
  • any promotions offered do not encourage the rapid consumption of alcohol or irresponsible drinking more generally.

Permitting intoxication on a licensed premises or supplying liquor to intoxicated persons or to minors are some of the most serious offences under the Liquor Act 2007, and carry penalties of up to $11,000, 12 months’ imprisonment, or both.

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Australia

SCCG Management Announces Strategic Partnership with PlaySpark to Enhance Audience Retention and Acquisition through Gamified White-Labeled Arcade Games

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SCCG Management Announces Strategic Partnership with PlaySpark to Enhance Audience Retention and Acquisition through Gamified White-Labeled Arcade Games
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SCCG Management is thrilled to announce a strategic partnership with PlaySpark, a pioneering company specializing in gamified audience engagement solutions. This collaboration aims to leverage SCCG Management’s extensive global distribution network and business development expertise to introduce PlaySpark’s innovative white-labeled arcade games to new markets and verticals.

PlaySpark, renowned for amplifying acquisition and retention of audiences using white-labeled arcade games, offers a no-code game creator tool that enables brands to build their own games or playable ads. This solution drives higher engagement rates and generates new revenue through in-game ads and rewards. PlaySpark’s plug-and-play games significantly enhance fan engagement and revenue for sports teams and brands, magnifying acquisition by up to 700% and retention by 4X.

“We are very excited to join forces with SCCG,” said Luke Santamar, CEO of PlaySpark. “At PlaySpark, we are trying to change the game of how brands engage their audiences through white-labeled arcade gaming. Partnering with SCCG allows us to expand our footprint into the USA and globally, whilst setting up strategic pathways to drive PlaySpark into other verticals. With the experience and networks of SCCG, we look forward to working together to scale PlaySpark into multiple industries.”

SCCG Management will utilize their vast ecosystem of over 100+ clients in the gaming space, as well as their sales and strategic distribution capabilities, which are globally placed in every major region of the world. This collaboration is poised to offer teams and brands the opportunity to amplify revenue by 300% through in-game advertising and the collection of 1st/zero party data.

Stephen Crystal, CEO of SCCG Management, shared his enthusiasm about the partnership: “We are delighted to partner with PlaySpark, a company that shares our vision for innovation in audience engagement. By integrating PlaySpark’s unique white-labeled arcade games into our network, we are confident that we can deliver unparalleled value to our clients. This partnership not only broadens our service offerings but also opens new avenues for growth and revenue generation for both SCCG and PlaySpark.”

The partnership between SCCG Management and PlaySpark marks a significant milestone in the evolution of gamified audience engagement, providing brands with powerful tools to drive engagement and revenue in an increasingly competitive landscape.

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