In New Zealand and casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited has reportedly announced that it is to permanently cease using junket firms to attract high-value foreign gamblers to its four properties.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the Wellington and Sydney-listed company is responsible for New Zealand’s SkyCity Auckland, SkyCity Hamilton and SkyCity Queenstown properties and recently spent in the region of $243 million so as to renovate its SkyCity Adelaide venue in Australia. The source detailed that the shake-up comes after the casino operator completed an eight-week strategic review into its international business that found potential due ‘diligence’ and ‘know your customer’ shortfalls connected to the use of junket firms.
The move from SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited also reportedly follows an early-February determination from regulators in the Australian state of New South Wales that counterpart operator Crown Resorts Limited was unsuitable to hold a casino license for its new Crown Sydney property. The judgement from the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority was purportedly tied to allegations that this firm may have been complicit in a slew of money laundering offenses tied to its reliance on foreign junket enterprises.
SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited reportedly used an official filing to declare that it now intends to utilize a modified model for its international business that will involve direct interaction with foreign players following the completion of ‘appropriate know your customer and customer due diligence’ checks. The Auckland-headquartered operator purportedly proclaimed that it is to furthermore ‘consult with its gaming regulators in New Zealand and South Australia’ concerning the particulars of ‘its revised operating model’ moving forward.
In related news and Inside Asian Gaming used a Monday story to report that the former Deputy Chairman for SkyCity Entertainment Limited, Bruce Carter, has taken on the role of a non-executive director with Crown Resorts Limited. The experienced industry veteran purportedly left his past post some eleven weeks ago after overseeing the expansion of the SkyCity Adelaide venue and is to now work towards helping his new employer secure a casino license for its $1.5 billion Crown Sydney development.
In moving to Crown Resorts Limited and the source reported that Carter has followed in the footsteps of Nigel Morrison, who previously served as the Chief Executive Officer for SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited. These hires purportedly come as the Melbourne-headquartered firm is seeking to remove all suspicions of impropriety in hopes of being able to bring casino gambling to its impressive Crown Sydney development.
Reportedly read a statement from Crown Resorts Limited…
“Attracting someone of Bruce’s calibre to the board is an endorsement of our strategy, ambition and commitment to reform. Bruce’s appointment will enhance our governance as we continue to implement our ambitious reform program.”