In an important move to strengthen the country’s digital gambling sector anti-money laundering (AML) regulation, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has restricted online sportsbook operators from accepting wagers from unverified users. The move has been unveiled as part of the latest effort of the regulatory body to consolidate the country’s safeguards against money laundering.
Under the new rules, betting operators that hold an operating licence in Australia will now have to require all online customers to verify themselves before they are allowed to place bets. Non-complying consumers will not be granted access to the sports wagering platforms of the providers.
The so-called pre-verification measures will provide both companies and their customers with the chance to operate in a more secure and accountable gambling environment. The new requirement is set to allow everyone involved in the wagering process to be fully aware of the identity and backgrounds of every person who is engaging in online betting services.
The decision for the enhanced measures in terms of online betting services is also approved by all State Governments in Australia under the provisions of the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering – a piece of legislation that aims to protect local people who take part in online betting activities.
Australian Regulators Seek to Bring Changes to the Country’s Online Gambling Sector
The latest decision of the AUSTRAC is set to affect some of the existing identification and verification processes in Australia’s online gambling sector. Under the new requirements, online gambling companies will have to bring some changes to their systems to incorporate the new pre-verification system. In addition, the operators are also expected to bring the information about the new gambling changes to the attention of their user base.
The news that many of the market experts and gambling industry stakeholders have actually supported the more restrictive regulatory move has come as a surprise to some. According to the backers of the more stringent regulation, the new requirements would, on one hand, minimise the risk of fraud, and on the other hand, establish a level playing field for operators and consumers.
Another major reason why the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre has eventually decided to move forward with such a change is the continued failure of local gambling companies to enforce appropriate anti-money laundering measures, although the State Governments and the competent watchdogs have advised and warned them to do so several times before. The lack of action on gambling and sports betting operators’ part forced the authorities to take more punitive steps against the ones who violate the rules and move forward with a more restrictive regime in an effort to protect local consumers.
For example, in December 2022, Star Entertainment faced a monetary penalty for dealing with “higher-risk” consumers and transferring funds through risky back channels.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.