Keno giant, Tabcorp fined $35m over money laundering charges

  • Company offers players keno wagering and other casino services
  • Fined for inadequate checks and failure to report suspicious behaviour
  • Tabcorp pledges to work with regulators more closely in future

Tabcorp, one of the world’s largest gambling companies offering wagering on keno and other casino games, has been fined close to $35 million by an Australian court for breaching rules over anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism obligations.

Tabcorp David Attenborough
Tabcorp’s Chief Executive, David Attenborough, has pledged to work closer with authorities and to maintain the company’s industry-leading status

Just last year the company underwent a significant refresh of its business strategy, bringing players new and exciting varieties of keno, including ‘Keno Mega Millions’, which features a higher jackpot for the lucky winner – as much as $5 million. Its keno is estimated to be played in close to 4,000 venues in Australia, and in 2016 100 million tickets were sold. It seems that success wasn’t enough to keep the regulators away, however.

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has made an agreement with Tabcorp, which was accepted, after the company was found to have breached regulations in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act more than 100 times over five years, by not having an effective program to monitor its finances and failing to report any suspicious behaviour.

“This was a serious failure in the corporate governance and the size of the penalty reflects a significant and extensive noncompliance. In my view, the noncompliance arises from a corporate culture that is indifferent to money laundering and terrorism financing requirements.”
AUSTRAC chief executive, Paulo Jevtovic

The fine of $45 million AUD is a record in the country as regulators sought to make an example of the company and encourage compliance with the act.

Tabcorp pledges to improve its behaviour

Tabcorp chief executive David Attenborough, meanwhile, pledged to work with the authorities in the future over the company’s obligations: “We have made significant investment in enhancing our compliance over the past three years and remain focused on being the industry leader in regulatory compliance across all or our operations.”

Jevtovic stated that he and AUSTRAC were satisfied that Tabcorp had taken significant steps to improve their compliance with the laws. Nonetheless, a hefty fine has seen the company report a 28% half-year fall in their profits – a painful lesson in compliance with proper checks in the near future. It remains to be seen whether the decision will have an impact on player numbers at the company’s keno stations.

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