SkyCity’s shares slip on anti-money laundering case against casino unit

By Thomson Reuters Feb 11, 2024 | 5:11 PM

(Reuters) – Shares of New Zealand’s SkyCity Entertainment slumped the most in nearly two months after the casino operator said its ‍Skycity Casino Management Ltd (SCML) unit will face a proposed lawsuit for alleged breaches anti-money laundering laws.

SkyCity’s shares fell up to 2.4% to NZ$2.03 at 2209 GMT after the announcement, set for their biggest daily loss since Dec. 19 if the current trend holds.

The company said New Zealand’s Internal Affairs Department is planning civil proceedings against SCML, with the latter being liable to pay a maximum of NZ$8 million ($4.91 million) for the breach.

‍”SkyCity is disappointed that it has not met the standard to which it needs to hold itself, and this has resulted in action taken by the Department,” it said, adding it will engage constructively with the department.

SkyCity has had a programme since late 2021 to improve its compliance anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws, the company added.

The department is still working through the implications of its review on SkyCity’s compliance, said Mike Stone, Director of the department’s anti-money laundering division.

In September, the department had applied for a temporary suspension of SCML’s licenses after it did not meet some conditions. SCML holds the company’s licence for casinos located in Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown in New Zealand.

($1 = 1.6281 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Poonam Behura; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Josie Kao)