New Zealands SkyCity Entertainment Group to cease working with junkets

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New Zealands SkyCity Entertainment Group will permanently cease all dealings with junket operators and bring its international VIP operations in-house.

The decision to ban junkets, effective immediately, follows the conclusion of a strategic review into the companys International Business division.

The strategic review was announced in February, less than two weeks after release of the Bergin Report into the suitability of Australias Crown Resorts to hold a casino license in the state of New South Wales. Crown was ultimately deemed unsuitable, in part due to its relationship with Asian junket operators and associated concerns around anti-money laundering controls.

In an ASX announcement on Tuesday morning, SkyCity said it has determined to permanently cease dealing with all junket operators and will instead operate its International Business under a revised operating model. That model will see SkyCity deal directly with International Business patrons after appropriate Know Your Customer (KYC) and customer due diligence requirements are satisfied.

The company added that it will consult with relevant gaming regulators in New Zealand, where it operates casinos in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, and in Australia where it recently completed a AU$330 million upgrade of SkyCity Adelaide.

Crown Resorts has already announced a similar ban on working with junket operators, while regulators in Western Australia home to Crown Perth have implemented a junket ban of their own.

The Bergin Report recommended junkets also be banned in NSW although local authorities have yet to act on any such measures.