08.03.2024

by Adam Dworak

Bet365 Under Investigation by Austrac for Possible Anti-Money Laundering Violations

In a significant development in the online gaming sector, bet365, a leading online gaming operator, is currently under investigation by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac).

The probe aims to determine whether the company has breached anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws within Australia. This inquiry follows a compliance audit that raised sufficient concerns to warrant a closer look into the company’s practices.

Austrac, Australia’s financial intelligence agency with a mandate to prevent financial crimes, has a track record of rigorous enforcement of the country’s gaming laws. The investigation into bet365 echoes previous actions against major players in the gambling industry, underscoring the agency’s commitment to upholding regulatory standards.

Austrac’s Stance on Compliance

Brendan Thomas, the CEO of Austrac, emphasized the importance of having robust systems to counteract the risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing. “Corporate bookmakers must have robust systems in place to ensure they can manage and mitigate risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing.

“Businesses without adequate processes in place to manage those risks leave themselves vulnerable to exploitation by criminals.”

Precedents in Austrac’s Regulatory Actions

Austrac’s history of taking decisive action against non-compliance in the gaming sector is well-documented. A notable case involved Crown Resorts, a prominent land casino operator. After identifying various failings related to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules, Austrac reached a substantial settlement with Crown Resorts, amounting to $450 million AUD. This case serves as a reminder of the potential consequences facing bet365 should it be found in violation of the regulations.

The Implications for Bet365

The investigation into bet365’s operations is poised to be thorough and could potentially lead to significant repercussions for the company, including fines or other punitive measures. As the process unfolds, the outcome will not only affect bet365, but also send a message to the wider online gaming industry about the importance of compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

Our Comment on the Matter

As this investigation progresses, it’s crucial to consider the broader implications for the online gaming industry. Austrac’s actions underscore the agency’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of Australia’s financial system and the gaming sector’s role within it. For companies like bet365, this serves as a critical reminder of the importance of implementing and maintaining robust systems to manage and mitigate financial crime risks. The outcome of this investigation will undoubtedly have lasting impacts on industry practices and regulatory approaches in the future.

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