The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) has ordered an audit of both Bet365 and Flutter-owned SportsBet, to determine if the operators have broken money laundering rules.
Austrac may take further action, such as a court-ordered fine, if SportsBet or Bet365 is determined to be in violation of the rules.
Austrac, a government agency tasked with combating money laundering, stated that the action was "the consequence of a comprehensive supervisory effort that reviewed businesses within the corporate bookmaker industry and follows the recent launch of an investigation into Entain."
The auditors will check compliance with four areas of anti-money-laundering legislation.
The first criterion is if the two operators developed and maintained "an AML/CTF programme with risk-based systems and controls that effectively detect, mitigate, and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks."
Next, they will examine whether the operators did sufficient risk assessments for money laundering.
Auditors will also evaluate whether the boards of SportsBet and Bet365 have "continuous oversight" of anti-money laundering efforts.
Lastly, they will investigate whether businesses adequately monitored their customers "in order to identify, mitigate, and manage the risk that the provision of designated services may include or assist money laundering or the financing of terrorism"
The auditors are required to submit their findings within 180 days, with the audit conclusions potentially leading to additional regulatory action.
The two operators will be required to pay for the auditors' services.
“The outcomes of the audit will assist Sportsbet and Bet365 to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations, and inform Austrac whether any further regulatory action is required,” the body said.
Warning to business
Nicole Rose, chief executive officer of Austrac, stated that taking action against two operators of this magnitude should serve as a signal to the "entire business." In addition to announcing its investigation of Entain, the organisation cautioned that other bookies may also be subject to action.
"Sportsbet and Bet365 are two of the leading bookmakers in the corporate sector. Austrac is warning the entire industry to step up its performance.
"Enforcing noncompliance is ultimately about protecting the community. Money laundering nourishes organised crime and all its ill effects. We need frontline firms to fully comply with the AML/CTF Act — to recognise and manage their risks and to report suspected criminal activity.
"Austrac will not hesitate to take action where suspected noncompliance is found in order to safeguard Australian enterprises from exploitation and the Australian community from harm."
By fLEXI tEAM