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SkyCity at risk of licence suspension

SkyCity Auckland, New Zealand’s largest casino, could be on the brink of losing its casino operator’s licence.

The Department of Internal Affairs has petitioned the Gambling Commission to suspend the company’s licence for 10 days due to alleged violations of host responsibility rules.

An investigation was initiated last year when a former customer of the casino filed a complaint. The customer alleged that between 2017 and 2021, SkyCity failed to properly detect instances of continuous play, a breach of operator rules.

In an official statement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX), SkyCity revealed, “The commission will now consider whether to make an order to suspend SCML’s (SkyCity) casino operator’s licence and, if so, the duration of any such suspension. A decision may not be forthcoming for a number of months.”

“The secretary [of Internal Affairs] states in the application that SCML did not comply with requirements in its SkyCity Auckland Host Responsibility Programme relating to detection of incidences of continuous play by the customer.” the release says.

The company says it intends to fully cooperate with authorities, and claimed to have made substantial investments in systems designed to maintain the highest levels of host responsibility. It placed a high priority on minimising the impacts associated with problem gambling, it claimed.

SkyCity’s operations at its Adelaide casino are also under examination by Australian federal and state authorities over unrelated allegations of breaching anti-money laundering rules. The company has earmarked approximately $50 million for possible penalties connected to those issues.

The company declined to comment on the specific case for which suspension is being tabled but emphasised that, even if the licence is suspended, that wouldn’t have any impact on the company’s non-gaming operations, like its hotels and restaurants.