ABB pledges further improvement after low-risk money laundering assessment

ABB pledges further improvement after low-risk money laundering assessment

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Posted by Andy McCarron
Just the casino sector will have to comply with 4MLD

UK bookmakers, adult gaming centres and bingo halls have fallen outside the remit of the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) thanks to increased vigilance on behalf of the Gambling Commission, but the casino sector (both online and land-based) will remain within the scope of the anti-money laundering measures.

Bookmakers in particular were concerned that their businesses would have to comply with the enhanced customer due diligence required in casinos whenever a customer wants to spend or pick up 2,000 euros.

However it seems that the Gambling Commission’s recent work on money laundering and the tightening up of its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) has persuaded the Treasury that areas of the gambling industry are suitably policed in this area already and that its latest National Risk Assessment (NRA) views bookmaking as low-risk and as such exempt from the 4MLD.

Peter Craske of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) told that such an exemption makes sense. He said: “The ABB believes that the Treasury has come to the right decision with regard to the risk relating to money laundering in high street betting shops. ABB members will continue to focus on ensuring LBOs remain low risk in relation to money laundering, both through direct action and engagement with relevant regulators and industry bodies such as the Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group (GAMLG).”

It is a sensible approach as this low-risk designation can be removed from the betting industry and others.

In its consultation document on money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF), the Treasury warned: “The government will regularly review its position on the ML/TF risk that gambling providers present. Moreover, the Gambling Commission will continue to evaluate ML/TF risk across all gambling sectors, and this information will contribute to and influence future NRAs.

“Importantly, the government recognises that the risk levels attributed to a particular gambling sector are not static and will vary over time. As a result, if a gambling sector can no longer be deemed low risk (including where the sector fails to adequately manage the ML/TF risks) then the exemption could not be maintained. It is therefore imperative that gambling providers comply with the requirements of the Gambling Act and the strengthened LCCP to ensure that they have effective policies, procedures and controls in place to mitigate ML/TF risks, and continue to raise standards.”

Totally Gaming says: This is a huge deal for a retail betting industry not really equipped for the red tape that the 4MLD would have imposed on it without the exemption. Licensing expert David Clifton of Clifton Davies highlighted the fact that the September 2015 first National AML Risk Assessment and repeated concerns expressed by the Gambling Commission suggested that the sector would indeed be required to fulfil 4MLD in full, so it is a very welcome surprise that the Treasury now deems that not to be the case.

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