AUSTRAC launches enforcement probe into owner of online bookmaker Bet365

AUSTRAC launches enforcement probe into owner of online bookmaker Bet365

Photo: Josh Chiodo via Unsplash

Australia's financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC has launched an enforcement investigation into the operator of the Bet365 platform, Hillside (Australia New Media), after examining a report issued by an external auditor appointed at the end of 2022.

The investigation comes on the heels of a crackdown on the financial crime obligations of Hillside and Sportsbet in a broader review of corporate bookmakers in Australia triggered by a significant fine issued to Ladbrokes' operator in the UK.

AUSTRAC says its enforcement investigation of Hillside will focus on whether Bet365 has complied with its obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. 

The investigation follows AUSTRAC’s review of the report from an external auditor appointed to the company in December 2022.

“Corporate bookmakers must have robust systems in place to ensure they can manage and mitigate risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing,” says Brendan Thomas, the CEO of AUSTRAC.

“Businesses without adequate processes in place to manage those risks leave themselves vulnerable to exploitation by criminals.”

The financial crimes authority says that as this is an ongoing investigation, it is unable to comment any further.

AUSTRAC’s investigations of Hillside and Sportsbet followed a probe into UK wagering giant Entain, which operates the Ladbrokes betting platform, after Entain was fined about $28 million in 2022 by UK authorities for ‘completely unacceptable’ money laundering failures.

At the time, AUSTRAC said it was ‘putting the whole industry on notice to lift their game’ with the appointment of external auditors to be funded by individually by Hillside and Sportsbet.

AUSTRAC said the outcomes of the audit would 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.

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