Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022


SkyCity Adelaide

In reply to the Hon. C. BONAROS ().14 June 2022).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs has advised:

Both the Casino Act 1997 and the Gambling Administration Act 2019 fall under my portfolio responsibilities as Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs, and are administered by the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, through Consumer and Business Services (CBS).

Any allegations of breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules and corporate governance failures in the casino sector are of considerable concern to the government and are being taken very seriously.

On forming government, the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner as the state's regulator of the liquor, gambling, casino, wagering, lottery and charity industries, provided the Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs with briefings about the regulatory framework for the gambling industry in South Australia and, the approach adopted by his agency, Consumer and Business Services (CBS) to regulate the casino and the gambling industry.

The commissioner announced in February 2021 his intention to undertake a review of SkyCity Adelaide, looking at the management and conduct of gaming operations under the South Australian casino licence.

Following the announcement in June 2021 that AUSTRAC was investigating the operators of casinos in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth for alleged breaches of commonwealth anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws, the commissioner decided to put his review on hold.

On 1 March 2022, AUSTRAC commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth. Investigations by AUSTRAC of the SkyCity Adelaide Casino and Sydney Star Casino are ongoing.

In light of the interstate findings and other information obtained, the commissioner considers that it is now necessary to carry out an investigation into the suitability of SkyCity Adelaide Pty Ltd to hold the South Australian casino licence and for its ultimate holding company SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited (NZ) to be a close associate.

The commissioner has subsequently appointed former Supreme Court Justice, the Hon. Brian Ross Martin AO QC to undertake the investigation.

The scope of the commissioner's investigation will however be much broader than the current AUSTRAC enforcement investigation which is limited to compliance with commonwealth anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and is focused solely on past conduct.

Under the Casino Act, the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner is responsible for ensuring that persons involved in the control, management and operation of the licensed casino are suitable and fit and proper persons to exercise their respective functions and responsibilities.

Work being undertaken by CBS in relation to the SkyCity Adelaide Casino includes:

the analysis of facial recognition and host responsibility interaction data;

information about persons who are able to exercise discretion, influence or have control over the business operations under the casino licence or who carry out certain prescribed duties to substantiate their suitability to be involved in the ownership, management or operation of the casino;

compliance and investigatory work; and

various regulatory approvals and review mechanisms in relation to the financial and gaming operations of the casino.

The Commissioner of Police must make available to the commissioner information about criminal convictions and other information to which the Commissioner of Police has access relevant to whether a person is suitable and fit and proper.

The Commissioner of Police also maintains probity records of persons who are designated persons under the casino licence or who undertake prescribed duties at SkyCity Adelaide Casino and is required to make information available to the commissioner if there is cause for a person to be prohibited from such positions.