The UKGC Releases its 2019 Industry Guidlines

The UKGC (the United Kingdom Gambling Commission) began the New Year with a new legislative agenda that showcases its guidance for the gambling industry. It focuses on the prevention of money laundering as well as combating terrorism financing, which is the fourth edition of the industry guidance.

The UKGC to Strengthen its Anti Money Laundering Policies

The Report of the Gambling Commission follows the recommendations of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force). The FATF is an EU intergovernmental body which is responsible for setting the money laundering standards that countries around the world use, as well as counter-terrorism financing, its frameworks, and its procedures. Currently, the legal frameworks for combating money laundering focuses on the detection and prevention of Anti-Money Laundering as the primary mechanism and driving force to finance criminal and terrorist activities.

The Gambling Commission stated that it wants the licensed operators to put in order the procedures, controls and the policies to cover the risks that can face them resulting from terrorism financing and money laundering. The statement by the UKGC stated that using any amount of money at an online casino, which resulted from any type crime, qualifies as money laundering if the person using it suspects or knows that the wealth produced from crime. It also made it clear that both can commit money laundering, the casino employees and the customers, depending on their knowledge or their suspicion regarding the source of the money. The UKGC highlighted this fact in the introduction of its new industry guidelines.

The Gambling Commission stated that currently, money laundering takes two forms related to gambling. The first one is the classic form, in which players would pass stolen money, or money resulting from a crime, in the casino, as a form of a legit business transaction so that they can get clean money in return. The other one, which is criminal spend in which criminals spend the money on gambling as a form of leisure.

The Main Key Guidance Points of the UKGC

The gambling commission’s report has seven main guidance points to combat money laundering. They detail the critical role that the gambling operators have when it comes to fighting corruption and money laundering so they can prevent gambling from being a source of any disorder or crime. These seven key points include record keeping, the monitoring of suspicious behaviors and activities, responsibility of senior management and customer due diligence.  It also highlights the importance of the role of the operators by upholding the main three principals of their licensing that the Gambling Act 2005 outlined. Therefore, a gambling operator cannot get involved with any criminal or money laundering activities. These key guidance points will also ensure that the operators’ businesses structure and their products do not end up being a mechanism for crime support.

Any transitions at the gambling operators have to adhere by the POCA. The POCA demands that the gambling operators have to report any suspected terrorist financing or suspected money laundering by the gamblers to the NCA (National Crime Agency). The UKGC made it clear that the guidance also includes the executive level, as the corporate officers have to acquire enough knowledge of the risk exposure to their business, and combine that with enough authority to prevent any money laundering or terrorist financing that they detect. Therefore, they have to be engaged in the process.

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