AUSTRAC Initiates Probe into Sportsbet and Bet365 over Money Laundering Suspicions
AUSTRAC launches investigations into gambling firms for suspicions of failing AML/CFT compliance, the watchdog will take action to protect businesses and the Australian community.
AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) has initiated an interrogation into global gambling firms, Bet365 and SportsBet, for suspicions of failing anti-money laundering compliance. The Australian financial crime watchdog revealed that the authority had “reasonable grounds to suspect.” Both firms had or might still be violating different counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering regulations. Other external auditors will come into play to investigate the non-compliance from Bet365 and Sportsbet.
Founded in 2000 by the Coates family, Bet365 operates as an international gambling network with offices in Gibraltar, Bulgaria, Malta, and Australia. The CEO of the firm, Denise Coates, is also one of the wealthiest women in Great Britain.
According to the Australian watchdog, the investigation of two firms follows “an extensive supervisory campaign” to assess corporate bookmakers. The regulation demands that betting firms analyze and monitor customers and their financial transactions to detect, manage and eliminate the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Firms also needed to engage in continuous reporting in case of identified risks.
The board members and senior management are expected to oversee and review the AML/CFT compliance operations and programs regularly. They are also responsible for making critical decisions about higher-risk relationships between businesses.
Nicole Rose, Chief Executive at Austrac, said in the statement about the probe of two major operators in the corporate bookmaking industry, “Austrac is putting the whole industry on notice to lift their game.”
“Ultimately, enforcing non-compliance is about protecting the community. Money laundering feeds organized crime and all the harm that comes with it. We need businesses at the front line to fully comply with [the] Act – to understand and mitigate their risks and report suspected crimes,” Rose said.
“Austrac will not hesitate to take action where suspected non-compliance is identified, to protect businesses from being exploited and protect the Australian community from harm.”
Bet365 has faced investigations previously as well. In 2016, the Australian Federal Court ordered Hillside (parent company of Bet365) and its UK counterparts to pay fines that total $2.75 million due to misleading and deceptive offers of “free bets.”