The inaugural Anti-Money Laundering (AML) training day was administered by the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group (GAMLG) was deemed a fruitful exercise in discussing emerging concerns for the gambling industry and the diversity of compliance functions. The event, held on April 25, 2022, was coordinated by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).
Additionally, there were also representatives from the UK Financial Intelligence Unit as well as KPMG, both of whom gave insight on how to identify dubious activity certain online casinos might be practicing. Moreover, there were also a number of tutorials focusing on the right tools needed when it comes to building a company culture where compliance is put at the forefront. Needless to say, these are imperative issues that need to be tackled in the online gambling industry whether in the UK or other jurisdictions across the globe. The list of no deposit bonuses by No Deposit Hero was used as a basis for checking the casinos operating in the UK.
Training Day Discussed Best Practices, Emergent Threats
According to the BGC, the workshop intended to discuss the best practices that would reduce potential money laundering threats and eliminate criminal incidents from the sector. The event was directed at protecting the gambling industry from significant risks, despite it being classified as a low-risk segment by the HM treasury’s National Risk Assessment (NRA). The NRA, which was published in 2020, sought to prioritize licensing, enforcement, and compliance activities in the gambling segment and deemed the gambling industry less vulnerable to the threat of money laundering and counter-terror financing.
Over 80 members from 30 prominent industry organizations participated in the day-long workshop. The membership drew from big names in the gambling sector such as Entain, Gamesys, Betway, William Hill, Genting, and Playtech. The workshop discussed emerging concerns in the AML and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) spheres, and the best practices that could be adopted by operators to reduce the risks related to money laundering capital in the gambling industry.
Participants listened to the views of several security experts and regulatory representatives on the subject and left with valuable takeaways after the workshop. The ensemble of speakers features Claire Wilson. Wilson is a Senior Manager at the Gambling Commission and spoke at length about her reflections on the lessons from the current regulatory landscape and the forces of regulation that were at play in countering AML-CTF-related risks.
Wilson also dwelled on the current regulatory model and assessed the prevalent dangers faced by the industry. The session sought to encourage operators to tackle concerns related to AML with a fresh mindset and nip criminal incidents in the bud via a new approach. The session also suggested operators to utilize technological innovations and prevent future risks.
AML Workshop Hosted Interactive Sessions
The workshop was a dynamic event with several interactive sessions on best practices, in addition to featuring guest speakers from various spheres who enriched the participants’ knowledge with their insights.
One of the practice sessions was conducted by the U.K.’s current Director-General of the National Crime Agency, Graeme Biggar. Biggar shared his input on the enormity of the threat currently confronted by the country’s gambling sector. Apart from that, he also delivered valuable guidance on how to tackle it efficiently.
Other sessions were hosted by representatives from tax advisory firm KPMG and the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU). The lectures instructed participants on how to highlight any suspicious activity. The lectures also administered guidance on how companies can formulate a stringent compliance culture. The UKFIU sessions centered around forming better Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
Social Responsibility Failures Invite Hefty Fines
Numerous failures by high-profile betting operators in following anti-money laundering guidelines and upholding social responsibility have invited strict penal action from the Gambling Commission (UKGC).
As a result, several gaming companies had come under the scanner and were slapped with hefty fines that ran into millions of pounds. The wave of punitive actions also stemmed from the BGC’s increased focus on eliminating money-laundering incidents from the gambling sector.
Some of these cases involved noted online operator 888 which incurred a £9.4 million fine for failing to identify players who were at the risk of harm. Companies like BetVictor and Genesis Global also had to pay fines of £2 million and £3.8 million on similar grounds.