Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Adelaide Casino

The Hon. C. BONAROS (15:25): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney, representing the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, a question about the Adelaide Casino.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: As has been ventilated in this place for some time now, the New Zealand based owners of the Casino, the SkyCity Entertainment Group, is in a world of pain, it seems. At the centre of its pain, in Federal Court action initiated by AUSTRAC alleging criminals have laundered almost $4 billion at the Casino over the past six years, the Casino recently advised the ASX it has put aside $45 million to cover a potential civil penalty from its anti-money laundering case in the Federal Court.

Now moves are afoot in New Zealand to temporarily suspend its operations in that country over alleged breaches of gambling harm minimisation rules, an announcement that has wiped some $250 million off the company's market capitalisation. My questions to the minister are:

1. Does the government continue to have confidence in the operators of the Adelaide Casino, given the more serious allegations that have been levelled against the parent company?

2. Has the company briefed the government on the moves underway in New Zealand to temporarily suspend its operations? If not, why not?

3. How many compliance checks inspections have been carried out by government inspectors since the AUSTRAC allegations were revealed? Is that more than would normally occur, given recent events?

4. Is the government aware of any plans for SkyCity to sell its Adelaide operations, and what contingency plans has the government got in place should that occur?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:27): I thank the honourable member for her questions and her interest in this area. The honourable member and the party she represents and its predecessors have been, I think, very staunch advocates in terms of antigambling. The forerunner to the party originally was the No Pokies Party in South Australia. The name actually says the issue that enlivened the political movement to which the honourable member now belongs. I thank her for her advocacy on behalf of South Australians in this area.

In relation to the questions asked about the Casino, I am not aware of any looks or attempts to sell interests from SkyCity, but the regulation in this area, as the honourable member pointed out in her question, is not in my portfolio area, it's the Hon. Andrea Michaels, the member for Enfield, the Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs, so I will be very happy to pass on those questions to the minister in another place and bring back an answer for the honourable member.