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Entain Facing AUSTRAC Probe Amid AML Concerns

Entain – the company behind Ladbrokes, Sportingbet, Neds, and many more – is facing a probe by the Australian financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC amid concerns over breaches of AML and terrorism financing laws.

Entain Probe Launched

Australia’s governmental transaction watchdog AUSTRAC launched a probe into Entain Group Pty Ltd on September 12. According to the media release available on the agency’s website, this follows an “extensive supervisory campaign” aimed at assessing the “corporate bookmaker sector”. The focus of the Entain probe will be whether the betting giant is following the guidelines within the Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing Act (AML/CTF Act). AUSTRAC chief executive Nicole Rose said:

“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 Nicole Rose

Since the investigation is ongoing, there are no further comments made by AUSTRAC. There are multiple measures that the agency is authorized to take if a company is found to be non-compliant, from court-enforced actions to civil penalty orders, but it’s too early to speculate.

Entain might be paying extra attention on this one, as the company was fined a record £17 million (approximately US$20.60 million) by UK’s Gambling Commission just last month. The reasons cited were social responsibility shortcomings and anti-money laundering breaches, and were related to the company’s online and land-based businesses both.

The exhaustive list of failures is apparently about shortcomings during 2019 and 2020 operations, and included multiple instances of large deposit sums going without source of funds checks, lack of due diligence checks, and much more. Entain will be very closely monitored, with license revocation being a “very real possibility”, according to UKGC chief executive Andrew Rhodes.

Within that long list of shortcomings that the UKGC, slow reaction times in communicating with certain players was also present. The smaller portion of the £17 million was the £3 million (approx. US$3.68 million) fine that the company’s gambling facility operator Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited received. Ladbrokes was in the headlines yet again just a week or so afterward, with a court case filed against Entain for problem gambling prevention failures and lack of affordability checks which is usually considered an AML breach.

The Ladbrokes player who sued Entain was Simon Rose, and he has reportedly lost over US$110,000 before Ladbrokes made its problem gambling intervention. According to Rose, he gambled more than US$2 million between 2015 and 2016 and lost $270,000 for the period. Ladbrokes had apparently set a daily deposit cap of $24,500, despite Rose earning $3,500 a month, which is clearly only possible of Ladbrokes hasn’t done any source of income or affordability checks.

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