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Australia's financial crimes regulator will probe Entain's AML violations

Entain, a British sports betting company, has been investigated by Australia's financial crimes regulator. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has stated that it will investigate whether the gaming behemoth is in compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing regulations.

According to Reuters, AUSTRAC officials stated that the enforcement inquiry was launched following an exhaustive supervisory campaign that covered the entire corporate bookmaking sector. The investigation comes as online betting thrives in Australia, where it initially erupted at the onset of the pandemic when conventional stores were forced to close.

"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," AUSTRAC Chief Executive Officer Nicole Rose said in a statement.

AUSTRAC further stated that it "will not hesitate" to take action if potential noncompliance is discovered. Entain Australia said in a statement that company was "cooperating with the investigation," which covered the period from July 2016 to June 2020. AUSTRAC had assessed the company's past policies and processes for that time period.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the AUSTRAC probe might result in AUD 22 million ($15.2 million) in fines and other rules for the gaming behemoth. According to reports, Entain, a London-listed company, controls around one-sixth of Australia's online betting market through its Ladbrokes brand.

The investigation's statement comes less than a month after the UK Gambling Commission fined Entain £17 million ($19 million), the body's largest penalty to date. Entain was penalised for "absolutely appalling anti-money laundering and safer gaming failings," according to the UKGC.

The UKGC stated in August that the additional sanction was imposed following Entain's second violation of standards in place to make gambling safer and crime-free. “They should be aware that we will be monitoring them very carefully and further serious breaches will make the removal of their license to operate a very real possibility,” noted UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes in a statement last month. “We expect better and consumers deserve better.”


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