Australia’s financial regulator opens AML/CTF investigation into Entain

Australia’s financial watchdog has commenced enforcement action against Entain to assess if the sports betting and gaming group has complied with anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financial laws.

AUSTRAC, a government agency responsible for detecting criminal abuse of the financial system to combat serious and organised crime, said that this follows “an extensive supervisory campaign” that assessed entities within the corporate bookmakers sector.

Furthermore, it is added that the supervisory campaign, which will focus on whether Entain has complied with AML/CTF obligations, could lead to further areas of focus in this sector.

The financial regulator also noted that it has a range of regulatory tools and enforcement powers available, stating that it “will not hesitate to take action where suspected non-compliance is identified”.

Entain’s Australian business operates online under the Ladbrokes, Bookmaker and Betstar brands, with the firm also acquiring Neds International in 2018 for an initial A$68m. In 2021, the firm also looked at further strengthening its position via a possible takeover of Tabcorp’s TAB betting division.

Nicole Rose, AUSTRAC Chief Executive Officer, said all reporting entities, including those in the corporate bookmakers sector, must take their role seriously in combating serious and organised crime.

“Reporting entities have a responsibility to ensure they identify, assess and manage risks of money laundering and terrorism financing, develop adequate processes and devote the necessary resources to comply with their AML/CTF obligations,” said noted.

Last month it was disclosed that Entain was to pay a £17m regulatory settlement, the largest UK Gambling Commission enforcement outcome to date, after an investigation discovered a range of social responsibility and anti-money laundering failures across its online and land-based businesses.

Furthermore, it was revealed that additional licence conditions would also be added in a bid to ensure an improvement plan is overseen, with a third-party audit review regarding compliance with the licence conditions and codes of practice to take place within 12 months.