Anti-money Laundering Company in Australia
Do you know where gambling is the most popular pastime? it’s in Australia. Nearly 80% of adult population spend their time off in land-based or online casinos, place wagers on the outcome of sport events or bet on horse racing or something like that. According to statista.com, in 2018, Australians spent over AUD 20 billion on electronic gaming machines, lotto, and other gaming alone. There are over 1,850 gambling establishments in the country. Total gambling turnover from sports betting is over AUD 11 billion.
In 2019, the per capita expenditure on gaming in Australia amounted to about AUD 1,050. The gaming activity includes pokie machines, lotteries, casinos and other interactive gaming. Moreover, the gross value added by the gambling industry contributed around AUD 590 million to the state economy. Therefore, Australia is an attractive market for investment in the gambling industry and is growing constantly, particularly in the online gaming segment.
Types Of Gambling Related Crimes
It’s obvious, such an attractive market has always been the target of criminal activity. There are a number of gambling related crimes:
- Money laundering;
- Card counting (it’s not a real crime, but many gambling venues prohibit this);
- Loan Sharking;
- Theft and more.
Money laundering is one of the most wide-spread crimes to be seen in the casinos worldwide. What is money laundering? It is an illegal process of making big money, as a rule by criminal activity. There are several forms of money laundering to be used in gambling venues. One of them is to spend money on high odds games. To minimize risk is to bet on every possible outcome of some event with many possible outcomes, so no outcomes have short odds, and the bettor will lose only the vigorish and will have one or more winning bets that can be shown as the source of money. The losing bets will remain hidden.
There were several cases of money laundering in Australia in recent years.
To Stop Violating Money Laundering Laws
In 2018 The Commonwealth Bank paid AUD 700 million in a money laundering case.
In 2019, Australia's Westpac bank paid a record AUD 1.3 billion fine for the biggest breach of money laundering laws in Australia last year. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) had identified several customers who had made suspicious transactions to the Philippines that revealed child exploitation activities. AUSTRAC reported the bank had failed to adequately report over 19 million international transactions. Westpac is the second large Australian bank to pay big fines for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
Then banking giant HSBC outed itself to Australia's financial crime agency for potential breaches of anti-money laundering laws by failing to report transfers to foreign banks and institutions.
Furthermore, two Sydney’s casinos were banned to cash after laundering scandal. It was founded that Crown had been "facilitating money laundering, and pursuing commercial relationships with individuals" connected to criminal groups. The Independent Gaming and Liquor Authority (ILGA) said Crown would ban cash in its gaming operations in Sydney.
Then, an investigation into Australian casinos has been expanded. This investigation is being conducted by the anti-money laundering agency. Recently owners of the main casinos in five largest cities have been subject to formal investigation. Among them you can see National Australia Bank, Crown Resorts, Star Entertainment Group, and SkyCity Entertainment Group.
Crown was going to open a newly built casino which cost AUD 2.2billion, but after the above-mentioned inquiry the company couldn’t hold a gaming licence in New South Wales. The company was requested to overhaul of the company's governance, starting with the sacking of majority of the board. Nicole Rose, AUSTRAC CEO, said, "The Australian casino sector is at risk of criminal misuse due to the products and services they offer." She added that their investigations demonstrate the seriousness of their concerns and they have significant compliance work under way on the casino sector.
For a long time, Crown has been suspected of illegal activity such as money laundering at its casinos and junkets for Chinese high-rollers linked to organised crime groups.
Star Entertainment Group that runs the Sydney's casino, is also under investigation. It is suspected to breach customer due diligence laws.
New Zealand’s SkyCity, another owner of an Australian casino, said the agency is investigating its Adelaide's management of customers identified as high risk and politically exposed.
National Australia Bank is charged in weak customer identification procedures and background checks.
The AUSTRAC tries their best to prevent organised crime groups using companies to finance their operations. They declared that they "work with state and territory regulators and law enforcement partners to actively address the significant risks of money laundering through casinos" and to "support regulation and education of the gambling sector".
There is hope that the situation in the gambling market will change and unethical business practices will disappear.