Entain Group Put Under Investigation by Australian Regulators over Potential Counter-Terrorism Financing and Anti-Money Laundering Failings

The owner of the Ladbrokes and Sportingbet brands has been put under investigation by the Australian authorities over alleged breaches of counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering rules.

As revealed earlier this week, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Australian Transaction Reports bodies have put Entain Group under scrutiny following an extensive supervisory campaign that evaluated companies operating in the corporate bookmakers sector. As a result of the investigation, the company’s shares experienced a 1.4% drop, making Entain Group the biggest blue-chip faller in early trading on September 12th. Still, the gambling company managed to quickly regain the lost ground.

The chief executive officer of AUSTRAC, Nicole Rose, has confirmed that all reporting entities, including the ones operating in the corporate bookmakers sector, were supposed to make an effort and combat organised crime effectively. She noted that the aforementioned companies are expected to make sure they develop adequate measures and processes to assess, identify and manage risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing and make the necessary financial investments to make sure they comply with their regulatory obligations.

The enforcement investigation of the Australian competent regulatory authorities into Entain Group was unveiled less than a month after the company suffered a whopping £17-million fine imposed by the UK Gambling Commission over instances of significant violations of safe and crime-free gambling rules by allowing anti-money laundering and safer gambling failures. In July 2019, the company faced another UKGC fine worth £5.9 million for social responsibility and anti-money laundering failings within the operations of its Ladbrokes Coral Group brand.

Ladbrokes and Sportingbet Owner Also Subject to Investigation of the HM Revenue and Customs

For the time being, Entain is one of the largest gambling and sports betting groups on a global scale, with an extensive range of gambling brands in its pocket. AUSTRAC, however, is now ready to use its enforcement powers and regulatory tools to take action if non-compliance is identified. The Government’s financial crimes regulatory body noted that its ongoing supervisory campaign for the corporate bookmakers sector in the country may bring other parts of the sector under the watchdog’s focus, although the investigation had not been brought to an end yet.

On Monday, Entain confirmed that it had been reached by AUSTRAC which informed it about a standard assessment of its historical counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering policies and procedures being conducted. The gambling group said that it is cooperating with the investigation that relates to the 4-year period from July 2016 to June 2020.

The investigation that is being held by the Australian authorities is not the only one faced by Entain Group, which is currently also facing a probe into a possible violation of the UK Bribery Act. As previously reported by Casino Guardian, in July 2020, HM Revenue and Customs which had already been conducting a significant investigation into payment processing for online gambling services in Turkey, expanded its probe to examine potential corporate offending within Entain Group.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez