ICC: What are the tools to clamp down on illegal gambling?

ICC: What are the tools to clamp down on illegal gambling?

Monday, February 1, 2016 Totally Gaming

Clamping down on illegal gambling can provide a huge boost for regulated operators, attendees at the International Casino Conference heard today (Monday).

Speaking at the Hippodrome Casino in London, experts on consecutive panels tackled the topic of illegal gambling, with representatives of the European Casino Association (ECA) and American Gaming Association (AGA) vowing to collaborate more closely on the issue in the future.

“It is a question of how to get operators into your tax systems, but if you can take out illegal offers, legal gambling will grow,” ECA Chair Per Jaldung said.

“There is no global network targeting illegal gambling, and this is something that I would like to encourage. We will try to develop closer relationships and international cooperation. It is not only about tougher penalties.”

The AGA’s President and CEO, Geoff Freeman, added: “I’m thrilled we’re working together with the ECA on this as it’s a huge issue.

“We estimate illegal gambling about $500bn in the US, where the laws have perversely created the illegal markets.

“There’s an enormous pent-up demand in the US and illegal machines as well as online activity. For example, in Texas there are an estimated 150,000-200,000 black market machines.

“We have an opportunity to build partnerships with law enforcement bodies and work with them in order ultimately to divert revenues into the regulated gaming space.”

Peter Naessens, Director, Belgian Gambling Commission, said that the battle is being won against preventing the growth of illegal gambling in his country.

“Illegal gambling is coming more to the surface as there are more tools to see what’s going on,” he said.

“We have a regulator issuing licencing, but also police officers and engineers to challenge illegal gambling. In Belgium I don’t think the illegal market is growing, but it still exists.”

On the contentious topic of daily fantasy sports in the US, Freeman predicted a “couple of tough years ahead”.

Responding to a question, Freeman said: “We’re hearing rumblings of criminal prosecutions, but I think it would be a real shame.

“I think these guys have come up and done something – perhaps naively – that was innovative. Innovation is next to impossible in highly regulated industries. I fear that criminal prosecutions would create a further block on innovation.

“My prediction is that when sports betting is finalised in the US, daily fantasy sports will become part of that, but I think they are going to have a couple of tough years first and their business models will be affected.”

In the previous session, Andrew Davies, VP Global Market Strategy, Financial Crime Risk Management Fiserv, said that between 1.5% and 3% of global GDP is laundered illegally.

“We understand the potential impact on commercial organisations, being used as a vehicle for money laundering,” he said. “It is not only the gaming industry and regulators, but also financial institutions enabling the transactions.”

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