AUSTRAC has already ordered the appointment of external auditors under section 162 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) for this purpose. The decision to enforce an audit is the result of AUSTRAC’s extensive activities in supervising the corporate bookmaker sector.
These activities accelerated after one of the sector’s major corporations, Entain, became the subject of a legal investigation after the respective AUSTRAC’s financial examination of the company was conducted after a massive lawsuit and fine against this company.
The external auditors will have a deadline of six months to review Sportbet and Bet365’s books and other relevant documentation. Within the given period, they shall report to AUSTRAC whether the two companies are compliant with the provisions of the AML/CTF requesting:
- Adoption and maintenance of AML/CTF programs with risk-based systems for efficient identification, mitigation, and management of money laundering and terrorism financing risks;
- Appropriate risk assessment procedures across their customer and services and the service delivery methods;
- Ensure that the entities (Sportsbet and Bet365 in this case) have supervision procedures in place for their programs;
- Appropriate monitoring of their customers to identify, mitigate, and manage risks that the provision of services may facilitate money laundering or financing of terrorism.
AUSTRAC will determine the scope of the audit for each of the two entities, while the audit-incurred expenses shall be covered by Sportsbet and Bet365.
Increased betting activities need audits:
Online betting in Australia has been under careful supervision over the last two years as this activity has simultaneously become increasingly popular. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian players adapted to the indoor circumstances and placed their favorite bets through online platforms and services. As a consequence, corporate bookmakers reported exceptionally high revenue increases for the past two years.
The lawsuit and the fine ruled against reputable bookmaker, Entain, was a signal for the governmental authorities to start investigations and audits. As Entain was found not to comply with the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing regulations, the competent authority AUSTRAC extended the activities to revise and audit the operations across the sector to ensure its compliance with the applicable financial regulation.
Enforcing non-compliance protects the community:
Nicole Rose, AUSTRAC Chief Executive Officer, said that non-compliance with the AML/CTF Act is a serious issue and a threat to the integrity of the Australian financial system.
He said: ”Sportsbet and Bet365 are amongst the largest operators in the corporate bookmaking sector. AUSTRAC is putting the whole industry on notice to lift their game.”
Rose stressed that enforcing non-compliance protects 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 AML/CTF Act – to understand and mitigate their risks and report suspected crimes.”
“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,” concluded the CEO of AUSTRAC.