This article will discuss the extent and scope of money laundering risk associated with online gambling in Australia and the measures that have been put in place to combat it. The growth in online gambling in Australia has been driven by a number of factors, including the widespread use of mobile devices, an increase in disposable incomes, a desire for convenience and anonymity, and the availability of online gaming websites and applications. As online gambling becomes more popular, the risk of money laundering activities increases. It is believed that Australian criminal organisations are increasingly using online gambling platforms to launder money from criminal activities. Money laundering occurs when proceeds from criminal activities such as drug trafficking, fraud and terrorism are mixed with legitimate funds and brought into the financial system.
Money launderers generally use a variety of methods to move and disguise money, such as through investments, letters of credit, and shell companies. As online gambling is often difficult to trace, it is ideal for money laundering. It is estimated that Australian organised crime gangs were laundering over one billion dollars annually through gambling activities in the mid 2000s. There are three main approaches Australia has employed in its fight against online gambling laundering money: monitoring, detection and deterrence. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has the authority to monitor and detect money laundering activities, including through online gambling. Furthermore, a number of interactive gambling operators are obliged to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF), which places preventative risk-based controls on transaction monitoring and customer due diligence.
Overall, money laundering risks associated with online gambling in Australia are expected to remain relatively low. Nevertheless, it is important for governments, regulatory bodies and operators to remain vigilant. Companies should implement measures to detect and prevent suspicious transactions, take a proactive approach to understanding customers’ activities, and be aware of the latest anti-money laundering legislation and technologies. Additionally, players should also be informed about the risks and safeguards that are in place to protect them. This can be achieved by online casinos in Australia providing adequate information on company websites and through responsible gaming initiatives. The Australian online gambling industry is one of the most rapidly expanding sectors globally.