About this guidance
This guidance applies only to online gambling service providers.
Online gambling service providers may carry out applicable customer identification procedures (ACIP) after opening an online gambling account in special circumstances. However, they can no longer carry out any other designated service until they complete ACIP. This includes allowing a deposit or making bets.
Throughout this guidance, we have changed references to ‘opening an account’ to ‘creating an account’. Section 5 of the AML/CTF Act outlines that you open an account when you create it, regardless of whether:
- the account number has not been given to the holder of the account
- the account holder or any signatory to the account cannot conduct a transaction in relation to the account.
The special circumstances are provided under Chapter 82 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules 2007 (AML/CTF Rules). Chapter 82 will operate from 29 September 2023 until 28 September 2024.
From 29 September 2024, Chapter 82 will be repealed. After this, all online gambling service providers must make sure they complete ACIP before commencing to provide any designated service. This includes creating an online gambling account.
Chapter 82 of the AML/CTF Rules gives online gambling service providers 12 months to implement required system changes for customer pre-verification. All Australian jurisdictions under the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering agreed to this.
Verifying customer identity is vital to making sure:
- individuals on the National Self Exclusion Register do not use online gambling services
- criminal actors do not exploit online gambling services.
For the purpose of this guidance, a ‘customer’ also includes a person acting on behalf of a customer or a beneficial owner of a customer.
For more information on ACIP, refer to Customer identification and verification.
On this page
- When you may carry out ACIP after creating an account
- Avoiding interrupting the ordinary course of business
- ML/TF risk from delaying ACIP must be low
- Managing ML/TF risks from delaying ACIP
- Carrying out ACIP as soon as reasonably practicable
When you may carry out ACIP after creating an account
The AML/CTF Rules set out special circumstances. These allow you to carry out ACIP after you create an online gambling account for a customer (account holder) in the course of carrying on a gambling business.
You are allowed to carry out ACIP on the account holder after creating the online gambling account if you:
- have determined on reasonable grounds that doing this is essential to avoid interrupting the ordinary course of business
- have determined on reasonable grounds that any additional money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risk arising from doing this is low
- have implemented appropriate risk-based systems and controls to effectively manage the associated ML/TF risks from doing this
- have appropriate risk-based systems and controls in place to make sure you carry out ACIP on the account holder as soon as practicable
- do not commence to provide any other designated service to the account holder.
If these special circumstances apply, you can delay ACIP for up to 72 hours from creating an online gambling account.
Until you have completed ACIP, you must not provide any other designated service to the account holder. You cannot, for example:
- accept deposits into the account holder’s online gambling account
- facilitate bets for the account holder
- enter the account holder into a game of chance played for money or value.
If you cannot complete ACIP within the 72 hour period, you must not provide any designated service to the account holder until you complete ACIP. In the ordinary course of events, AUSTRAC expects that you will suspend or close the account if you cannot complete ACIP within this 72 hour period.
Avoiding interrupting the ordinary course of business
You must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that carrying out ACIP after creating an online gambling account is essential to avoid interrupting the ordinary course of business.
If you cannot undertake a service or an activity without creating an online gambling account, it may be essential to delay completing ACIP until after you create this account to avoid interrupting the ordinary course of business. This may be due to:
- the nature of the service
- the type of customer
- how systems or processes operate within your business.
You may determine that creating an account before completing ACIP is essential to avoid interrupting the ordinary course of business when:
- you cannot complete ACIP electronically without creating an online gambling account
- changing your systems or processes quickly to allow you to do this would incur a significant and disproportionate expense.
AUSTRAC expects that you will upgrade your IT systems and processes before 29 September 2024 to allow you to complete ACIP before creating an account. This will make sure you can comply with the AML/CTF Act and Rules that will be in effect from 29 September 2024.
ML/TF risk from delaying ACIP must be low
You must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the ML/TF risk of carrying out ACIP after creating an online gambling account is low.
The reasonable grounds test is an objective one. The fact that a customer cannot conduct transactions on an online gambling account while you are completing ACIP is relevant to consider, but it does not determine a low ML/TF risk rating. For example, where an online gambling account is created, there can be a risk that it will be activated, through human, process or systems error, to unlawfully allow transactions to be completed on the account while ACIP is ongoing.
When you consider whether there is a low ML/TF risk, you should think about a number of factors. This includes, but is not limited to:
- the nature and characteristics of the customer involved
- the risk that the account will be activated, unintentionally or otherwise, to unlawfully allow the provision of designated services before ACIP is completed
- the purpose of the account, including whether it is related to a high risk service
- any relevant mitigation measures. This includes the legal prohibition on conducting transactions on the account while completing ACIP under Chapter 82.
Your AML/CTF program may determine that circumstances justify delaying ACIP for a low risk class or group of customers, scenarios or products. This must be subject to:
- identifying higher risk factors that may arise from delaying ACIP on a case by case basis
- whether your AML/CTF program could mitigate these risks to a low level.
Managing ML/TF risks from delaying ACIP
When creating an account before completing ACIP, you must have appropriate systems and controls to manage the associated ML/TF risks.
For example, these systems and controls could include a defined timeframe in which you must complete ACIP. This could incorporate:
- the 72 hour deadline for completing ACIP after creating an account
- the practice of suspending or closing accounts when you do not complete ACIP in this timeframe.
You should also have adequate systems and controls in place to make sure that you do not, inadvertently or otherwise, allow designated services to be carried out on an online gambling account before ACIP is completed.
You may also consider whether there are grounds for submitting a suspicious matter report when:
- the customer does not cooperate so you cannot complete ACIP within a reasonable period after creating an account
- there is no logical explanation for the delay.
Carrying out ACIP as soon as reasonably practicable
The special circumstances will only exist if you have systems and controls in place to carry out ACIP as soon as practicable after creating the account. What is ‘practicable’ should be an objective assessment based on the facts.
You must be able to demonstrate that your systems and controls make sure your staff take reasonable steps to complete ACIP at the earliest possible time. This could include contacting customers who create an account remotely or online within one business day, when you are unable to verify ACIP using electronic data.
The content on this website is general and is not legal advice. Before you make a decision or take a particular action based on the content on this website, you should check its accuracy, completeness, currency and relevance for your purposes. You may wish to seek independent professional advice.