BUSINESS

Tabcorp money laundering lawsuit; Interpol looking at in-play betting apps

TAGs: Australia, Bet365, in-play betting, interpol, Ladbrokes, money laundering, Tabcorp, William Hill

tabcorp-money-laundering-lawsuit-interpolAustralian betting operator Tabcorp has been slapped with a civil lawsuit over alleged failures to adhere to anti-money-laundering (AML) protocols.

On Tuesday, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (AUSTRAC) filed a civil suit in Federal Court in Sydney, accusing Tabcorp Holdings Ltd. of failing to take sufficient steps to combat attempts to launder money and failing to exercise proper due diligence on its customers and employees.

AUSTRAC identified nearly 60 examples of Tabcorp staff placing bets on credit, which is not allowed in Australia (except for online betting sites licensed in Australia’s Northern Territory). Tabcorp eventually suspended the staffers and contacted the police but failed to notify AUSTRAC.

The suit also notes a 2010 incident in which Tabcorp contacted police regarding a suspiciously large volume of wagers on a National Rugby League match but again failed to notify AUSTRAC. As well, Tabcorp neglected to inform AUSTRAC of 31 customer accounts that had been set up using bogus credit cards.

Tabcorp issued a statement saying it takes its AML obligations “extremely seriously” but wouldn’t offer further comment until it had studied the suit’s allegations in depth. Should Tabcorp be found guilty on all counts, it faces a maximum penalty of AUD 17m (US $12.5m).

IN-PLAY BETTING APP INVESTIGATION REFERRED TO INTERPOL
Meanwhile, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have invited global cops Interpol to join their investigation of possible criminality related to Australian bookies’ use of in-play betting apps. Under Australian law, in-play wagers must be placed either in person at a betting shop or over the phone. The Australian operations of UK bookies Bet365, Ladbrokes and William Hill have each attempted to circumvent the online in-play ban by releasing apps that use smartphone voice recognition technology to confirm wagers placed via the apps.

Last week, Ladbrokes withdrew its Quickcall app in response to a letter from the Australian Communications and Media Authority questioning the apps’ legality. On Wednesday, The Australian reported that Ladbrokes and Bet365’s apps have been referred to Interpol because the companies’ Aussie-facing sites are hosted overseas. William Hill’s Australian site is hosted locally, so the AFP is proceeding with its own investigation of Hills’ Click To Call app.

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