The anti-money laundering regulator in Australia has announced that its plans to extend its investigation to include the National Australia Bank, Crown Resorts, SkyCity Entertainment Group, and Star Entertainment Group, and other casinos in Perth. Similarly, AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) which regulates financial conduct with firms towards the involvement of organized crime and money laundering within business stated that it will carry out a wide-ranging investigation into all primary casino operators in Australia.
This news is a big blow to the casino industry in Australia which is already facing an ongoing investigation into Crown Resorts, and the investigation will now involve all other key casino operators and jeopardize the offer made by SEG (Star Entertainment Group) to Crown Resorts in a bid to take over its rival for 7 billion Australian dollars. According to announcements from the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, they would investigate the anti-money laundering and due diligence procedures of the companies as well as their breaches of or involvement in organized crime within their businesses.
Australia and Its Strict Measures Against Online Casinos
Regulatory Authorities in Australia are very strict with casino operators and their operations such that there have been several bans and restrictions in many aspects. One such ban is on the online gambling credit card in the country which is being disputed by several online sports operators. The ban was enforced in good faith to protect gamblers from some shabby practices of online sports operators who make a profit when gamblers go into debt.
This debt is largely associated with gamblers’ use of credit cards in topping up their online wallets to use on gambling websites. To stop citizens and gamblers from running into debts with the use of credit cards, the regulatory body is proposing a measure to halt the use of credit cards on these websites. The proposed measure is facing stiff resistance especially a trade body acting on behalf of the gambling institutions which states that it is not in support of any law that will enforce the ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling purposes.
Is It the Right Move?
Like earlier stated, many people; gamblers and casino operators often criticize the Australian government’s position on online gambling as well as the lack of industry knowledge and insights responsible for the present illegal gambling flop when players were protected under the European Union laws through the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority) license.
The government’s action is spot on because people should normally not use debt to gamble while those that use the card legitimately by paying off each month should know that the ban will better fellow folk and the industry at large. Using debt to gamble always results in disaster especially for problem gambler who chases their losses and loses in the end. Furthermore, the debt is bad for the lending banks because of the high risk associated with it whereby gamblers file for bankruptcy.
Current State of Australian Gambling Laws
The bill was unveiled by a Centre Alliance Party Senator, Stirling Griff taking a page from United Kingdom legislation where they adopt a similar plan. Under the bill, acceptance, facilitation, and promotion of credit cards used for online gambling are now under criminal punishment. Only a few firms are currently permitted to operate online gambling activities in Australia – the licensed bookmakers, betting exchanges, and TABs. The Australian authorities do not allow chance games like roulette, online betting in-play for sports events, or other casino-based games. Services offered by firms holding a foreign license are also illegal.