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Austrac Investigates Bet365 Over AML/CFT Compliance Amid Growing Scrutiny of Gambling Industry in Australia

Australia's financial crime agency, Austrac, has initiated an investigation into gambling firm Bet365 regarding its compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) regulations. Brendan Thomas, Austrac's new chief, emphasized the necessity for corporate bookmakers to maintain robust systems to manage and mitigate risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing, stating that businesses lacking adequate processes are vulnerable to exploitation by criminals.

Austrac Investigates Bet365 Over AML/CFT Compliance Amid Growing Scrutiny of Gambling Industry in Australia

The probe into Bet365 follows an external audit ordered by Austrac in 2022. Austrac investigates banks, casinos, and betting companies to ensure they have effective compliance systems in place to prevent the proceeds of crime.

Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes, has also been under investigation in Australia since 2022, while another competitor, Sportsbet, is undergoing an external audit. Australian law mandates firms to assess customers and monitor financial transactions to identify and manage the risk of money laundering or financing terrorism. Companies found to have weak compliance systems by Austrac could face fines.

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In recent years, major lenders such as Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have been fined by Austrac for breaches of AML/CFT laws. Associate Professor Charles Livingstone of Monash University highlighted that criminals launder substantial amounts of money through Australian bookmakers, with gambling serving as an effective avenue for money laundering due to the volume of transactions.

Livingstone noted that investigations into the casino sector have prompted increased scrutiny of the betting industry. There is growing pressure on Australian regulators and politicians to address the power of the country's gambling industry, with considerations including a potential ban on gambling advertising. Last year, Bet365 reported significant losses, despite its chief executive Denise Coates receiving substantial compensation.

Bet365 did not respond immediately to requests for comment.



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