Austrac, Australia’s financial crime watchdog, has ordered an audit into Sportsbet and Bet365, specifically around their compliance with financial crime laws.
In a statement made Thursday, Austrac said it ordered the appointment of external auditors under section 162 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) to assess compliance of Sportsbet Pty Ltd and Hillside (Australia New Media) Pty Limited, which operates under the name of Bet365.
Essentially, the external auditor will be authorised by Austrac to assess both companies’ compliance with the AML/CTF Act and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 (No. 1), which are the rules the companies are required to adhere to.
The external auditor has 180 days to provide Austrac with a report, specifically on whether each of the companies have an AML/CTF program that effectively identifies, mitigates and manages money laundering and terrorism financing risks. While the whole audit will probe certain elements of Sportsbet’s and Bet365’s AML/CTF compliance, the findings are what will determine if any further regulatory action is required by Austrac.
In a statement, Austrac CEO Nicole Rose said non-compliance with the AML/CTF Act is a serious issue.
“Where Austrac identifies systematic failings, we will intervene to ensure the integrity of Australia’s financial system,” the statement read.
“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 added.
“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.”
While not related to the Austrac directive, yesterday it was announced that online gambling companies will be required to display new gambling warnings, under new advertising rules introduced by the federal government.
The rules will apply to companies that offer betting through apps or websites for all TV, video, radio, digital, print, social media and in-app advertising.
The current “gamble responsibly” tagline on advertisements will be replaced.
There will be seven new options when the new changes come into effect in April for online wagering companies:
- “Chances are you’re about to lose”
- “Imagine what you could be buying instead”
- “You win some. You lose more”
- “What’s gambling really costing you?”
- “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?”
- “What are you prepared to lose? Set a deposit limit”
- “What are you really gambling with?”
The costs of the audit requested by Austrac into Sportsbet and Bet365 will be covered by the respective companies.
For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit gamblinghelponline.org.au.
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