ASIC scolds Sportsbet for offering financial product without necessary license

Maria Nikolova

The Australian regulator intervened when Sportsbet began offering bets over the S&P/ASX 200 Index.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has forced betting agency Sportsbet to withdraw a product in a move highlighting the harsh stance of the regulator when it comes to overseeing the financial services market.

ASIC today announced that it intervened when Sportsbet began offering bets over the S&P/ASX 200 Index. The regulator had concerns that the bets constituted a financial product that Sportsbet was not licensed to offer. The product was consequently withdrawn.

Sportsbet blamed the issues on challenges in implementing its control framework in the current environment, with many staff working remotely.

The regulator notes that firms need to ensure continued compliance with their regulatory obligations in the COVID-19 context, assessing the effectiveness of their business continuity plans and alternative working arrangements so as to comply with all regulatory requirements. It is important to maintain robust monitoring and supervision controls to ensure financial services are provided efficiently, honestly and fairly, ASIC says.

ASIC continues to actively monitor firms and markets for potential misconduct and notes that it will not hesitate to take action in appropriate circumstances.

The regulator warns that control frameworks of some firms that were effective when most staff were office-based may not be effective in a broadly home-based environment.

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