Sportsbet pledges to comply with Australia's anti-money laundering laws

(Reuters) -Online betting company Sportsbet pledged to manage the risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing in an undertaking given to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the financial crimes regulator said on Thursday.

"The enforceable undertaking is designed to help prevent Sportsbet becoming a place criminals can funnel their illicit funds through," AUSTRAC CEO Brendan Thomas said.

"This undertaking will ensure that Sportsbet commits sufficient resources to adequately implement its remediation program promptly, or risk further enforcement action," Thomas added.

AUSTRAC had first ordered an audit of Sportsbet, owned by London-based Flutter Entertainment, in 2022, as online betting surged in Australia after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced physical shopfronts to shut.

As part of the undertaking, Sportsbet will commit to an ongoing remedial action plan to improve its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing program, and is also required to provide reports to AUSTRAC from an auditor.

"We take our responsibility to mitigate the risks of financial crime to the Australian financial and payments networks extremely seriously," a Sportsbet spokesperson said in an emailed response.

"We are grateful AUSTRAC has acknowledged our efforts to improve our compliance and that our transformation program to further strengthen our compliance with the AML/CTF Act is well underway," the spokesperson added.

(Reporting by Himanshi Akhand in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Eileen Soreng)