Austrac’s Crackdown on UK-based Online Gambling Company Bet365 Over Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Compliance

Australian authorities investigate Bet365, an online gambling company

Australia’s financial crime watchdog, Austrac, is currently conducting an investigation into UK-based online gambling company Bet365 over its compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. This comes after Austrac ordered an external audit of the company in 2022 due to increased scrutiny of the industry as a result of the surge in online betting during the pandemic.

Ladbrokes owner Entain and another rival Sportsbet are also facing investigations from Austrac. The watchdog investigates banks, casinos, and betting companies to ensure they have robust compliance systems in place to prevent them from profiting from criminal activities. Under Australian law, companies must assess customers and monitor their financial transactions to identify, mitigate, and manage the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing. Fines can be imposed on any companies found to have weak compliance systems.

In recent years, major lenders such as Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have been fined for breaching these laws. The online betting industry in Australia faces challenges not only from legal issues but also from new regulations such as banning credit card use for online gambling and stricter advertising restrictions. Despite reporting a significant loss last year, Bet365 CEO Denise Coates received a pay increase, bringing her total salary over the past four years to over £1 billion. She founded the company over 20 years ago in a portable building in a Stoke-on-Trent car park and has since become one of Britain’s richest women and one of the highest-paid executives globally.

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