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Australia’s financial crimes regulator has launched investigations into Sportsbet and bet365 over suspicions they have failed to comply with the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) rules.  

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) has ordered the appointment of external auditors to assess Sportsbet and bet365’s compliance with Australia’s financial crime law.  

In notices sent to Sportsbet and Hillside (Australia New Media) Pty Ltd, which operates as bet365, Austrac said it has “reasonable grounds to suspect” the two entities had contravened, or were contravening, Australia’s AML and CTF law.

In September, Austrac already kickstarted an investigation into Entain after suspecting similar compliance failures.

Sportsbet and bet365 external auditors are required to report to Austrac within 180 days and will assess whether the companies have adopted and maintained an AML/CTF programme that has risk-based systems and controls in place to effectively identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

Moreover, the auditors will undertake a risk assessment that considers the risk posed by the companies’ customer types, the types of designated services they provide and the methods by which they deliver those services.

Austrac CEO Nicole Rose: “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.”

The auditors will also ensure that Sportsbet and bet365 have a framework through which their boards and senior management have ongoing oversight of their AML programmes, while also checking that the firms are appropriately monitoring their customers with a view to identifying, mitigating and managing AML and CTF risks.

Austrac CEO Nicole Rose said non-compliance with the AML/CTF Act was a serious issue and that where systematic failings were identified, Austrac would intervene to ensure the integrity of Australia’s financial system.

“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.

“Ultimately, enforcing non-compliance is about protecting the community. Money laundering feeds organised crime and all the harm that comes with it.

“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,” she added.

The financial crimes watchdog said the outcomes of the audit would assist Sportsbet and bet365 to comply with AML and CTF obligations, but it would also inform Austrac whether any further regulatory action was required.

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