Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulator AUSTRAC has today announced its regulatory priorities for 2024, including a focus on the gambling sector.

AUSTRAC’s 2024 regulatory priorities focus on hardening the sectors it regulates and details how the organisation plans to bolster the financial system’s resilience to money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime.

Over the next year, AUSTRAC will focus on the money laundering risks faced by businesses, particularly across the banking, gambling and remittance sectors which face higher risks, and help them to understand, mitigate and manage these risks.

The decision to focus on gambling as a priority in 2024 follows an update by AUSTRAC earlier this year that provided new resources to support pubs and clubs that operate electronic gaming machines (EGMs) with their understanding and reporting of money laundering.

Additional sectors will also be under scrutiny to ensure legislative compliance, including digital currency exchanges (DCEs), payment platforms, bullion, and non-bank lenders and financiers.

While activity will be focused on these priority areas, AUSTRAC will continue to investigate other areas that are important to complying with AML/CTF obligations.

Pete Soros, AUSTRAC’s acting CEO, says an important element of AUSTRAC’s regulatory work is engaging with businesses to identify areas for improvement early enough to prevent problems becoming systemic.

“These priorities signal our ongoing intent to work with businesses to embed a culture of vigilance, ensuring everyone at every level is aware of the threat of financial abuse and criminal exploitation.

“Criminals target businesses with weak anti-money laundering settings, which is why AUSTRAC’s regulation, through education and supervision, is crucial to safeguarding Australia’s communities and financial systems through financial harm.

“Although today’s announcement calls out certain sectors, all industries sectors should expect interaction and engagement from AUSTRAC.”

Full details of AUSTRAC’s 2024 regulatory policies can be found here.

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