The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has ended its long-running investigation into Australia’s largest gambling company, Tabcorp. The AFP opted to end its three-year investigation last week due to a lack of evidence.
AFP launched its investigation three-years ago as it looked to bring bribery charges against Tabcorp. Allegations came to light of Tabcorp making a payment of $200,000 to a business with financial links to the family of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The company always maintained its innocence, claiming it had been looking into a potential business opportunity back in 2009. Tabcorp executives investigated entering Cambodia’s emerging sports betting market. Several Asian countries were looking to deregulate betting on sports, but Tabcorp’s venture never got off the ground.
Executives funnelled $200,000 to Cambodia via the United States in 2010. This large sum went to a consulting company connected to the sister of the Cambodian Prime Minister. The revelations prompted the AFP investigation.
Payments to foreign officials or industry regulatory stakeholders are banned under Australian corporate law. This is particularly true when the payment is to “gain a business advantage or facilitating of services.” AFP investigated claims the payment was made to help Tabcorp receive a sports betting license.
In light of the allegations, Tabcorp’s CEO at the time, Elmer Funke Kupper, resigned from his position in 2011. He then relinquished his role as a corporate director when the allegations entered the public domain. Kupper also resigned as CEO of the Australian Securities Exchange.
The investigation has ended as the AFP could not and did not find any evidence of criminal activity. A spokesperson for the APF said in a statement, “In late 2012, the Australian Federal Police began an investigation into allegations of foreign bribery relating to an Australian company (Tabcorp) relating to alleged payments to Cambodian government officials in 2009 and 2010. In 2019 the AFP conducted a review of this long and thorough investigation and found it is not possible to obtain the evidence required to support a criminal prosecution. The AFP now considers this matter finalised.”
A statement released by Tabcorp following news of the now-closed investigation reads:
“Tabcorp has been advised today by the Australian Federal Police that it has closed its investigation into the Cambodian matter and that it is not intending to take any action in respect of this matter. Tabcorp has co-operated with the AFP throughout the investigation and welcomes the conclusion of this matter.”
Several Australian news outlets contacted former Tabcorp CEO Kupper for comment. Kupper said, “I am pleased the matter has concluded and look forward to re-engaging with the business community at some stage.”
The industry leader in Australian gambling is a huge company employing more than 5,000 employees. It has operations in every Australian states except Western Australia.
Tabcorp dominates the Australian lotteries with 12 major brands coming under The Lott umbrella. The Lott awarded more than $2.7 billion in prize money during the 2018 financial year. Having more than 3,700 outlets selling 472 million tickets helped Tabcorp award this impressive sum.
Keno is also a major part of the company’s product portfolio, according to the latest financial figures. Australians bought 106 million Keno tickets in 2018; the company has 38,000 active registered Keno players. You can play Keno online via almost all of Pokies.com partners.
Recently developments in Western Australia could see Tabcorp enter the state for the first time. The WA government created the TA (Disposal) Bill 2019 to enable it to sell its TAB business. Tabcorp is a potential buyer of the WA TAB because it is the company’s other area of expertise. TAB products operate in more than 4,400 venues across Australia.