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Junkets off the table for Adelaide Casino

The Adelaide Casino owner, SkyCity will put an end to junkets after the NSW Bergin inquiry into Crown Resorts questioned links to organised crime and money-laundering.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the $2.4 billion New Zealand-based SkyCity said,

“The SkyCity board has determined to permanently cease dealing with all junket operators, effective immediately, and continue to operate its international business division under a revised operating model.

“Under the revised operating model, SkyCity will deal directly with international business patrons after appropriate know-your-customer and due diligence requirements are satisfied.

“SkyCity will consult with its gaming regulators in New Zealand and South Australia in relation to its revised operating model.”

The NSW Bergin inquiry recommended the ban on Junkets in NSW, however has had a country-wide impact.

The Bergin inquiry into Crown Resorts highlighted the issue of organised crime and its infiltration of Crown through the use of junket operators.

Financial crimes regulator AUSTRAC said last year they are vulnerable to “multiple criminal threats”.

SkyCity is now getting on the front foot with regards to junkets after it and Chinese junket operator Xiongming Xie was sued to the tune of $4.84M by Chinese high-roller Linong Ma.

Ma claims that he won $5 million while on a SkyCity junket in Adelaide in 2019, however most of the money was remitted by SkyCity to Mr Xie, who allegedly retained the money.

Mr Ma has claimed that he was a victim of “fraud” on the part of Mr Xie and “negligence” on the part of SkyCity.

Court documents submitted to the South Australian supreme has illustrated Mr Xie’s alleged questionable behaviour: “Mr Xie was arrested in Sydney in July 2019 and charged with “having allegedly ... threatened a man with a knife, demanded the transfer of a $10 million property and stabbed the man almost to death’’.

Since that time, the South Australian parliamentarian Connie Bonaros has written to state gambling commissioner Dini Soulio to request an “independent investigation into the Adelaide casino operations of the SkyCity Entertainment Group for any evidence of criminal activity.”


Irit Jackson, 14th April 2021