Entain Under Investigation in Australia by Financial Crimes Regulator

  • AUSTRAC is looking at counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering law compliance
  • Entain has confirmed that it will fully coooperate with the investigation
  • Entain was recently fined £17m in the UK for anti-money laundering and safe gambling failings
  • Ladbrokes is Entain’s main brand in Australia’s online betting market
Entain logo
AUSTRAC has commenced an investigation into Entain’s compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Looking at compliance

UK gambling group Entain is under investigation by Australia’s financial crimes regulator. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) announced Monday that it has started an investigation to determine if Entain was compliant with counter-terrorism financing and anti-money laundering laws.

Entain issued a statement saying that it is cooperating with AUSTRAC’s investigation.

might end up looking at other key areas of Entain’s operations

AUSTRAC has been conducting an extensive supervising campaign of the entire sports betting sector. The period that it is looking at in the Entain investigation is July 2016 up to June 2020. The focus will not be narrow; AUSTRAC confirmed that it might end up looking at other key areas of Entain’s operations.

Not the first time in hot water

In a statement announcing the investigation, AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose said that operators have a possibility 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.”

Currently, Entain has a presence in Australia through its Ladbrokes brand. While there are no retail locations, the online sportsbook is popular. It controls about one-sixth of the country’s online betting market.

could hand out a fine of up to AU$22m

This is not the first significant investigation into Entain’s activities recently. In August, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) handed out a record £17m (AU$29m) fine to Entain for “completely unacceptable anti-money laundering and safer gambling failures.” If AUSTRAC finds failings through its investigation, it could hand out a fine of up to AU$22m (US$15.2m).

Big business in Australia

Online sports betting is big business in Australia, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic as retail sportsbooks were closed for long stretches of time. Entain and other major operators like Flutter Entertainment have seen big increases in their Australian revenue in recent years.

Entain currently has operations in over 20 countries, covering sports betting, bingo, poker, and casino games. Some of the other brands that it owns include Coral, BetMGM, and partypoker.

Entain had been looking to expand its footprint in Australia last year. It attempted to buy certain assets of the country’s second-biggest online sportsbook operator, Tabcorp Holdings. The offer was worth around AU$3.5bn (US$2.4bn), but was ultimately unsuccessful.