Key AML issues explored at “Keeping Crime out of Gambling” conference

At yesterday’s extremely thought-provoking KnowNow Keeping Crime out of Gambling conference, David Clifton moderated the AML Update panel session, aspects of which have already been reported by Gambling Compliance.

Topics covered by David and his panellists (pictured below, left to right):

  • Jon Duffy, Director of Corporate Assurance and Regulatory Affairs, Genting Casinos UK,
  • Isabella Chase, Financial Crime Writer, ComplyAdvantage
  • Ewout Wierda, General Counsel, Videoslots
  • Tim Tyler, Course Director, International Compliance Training

included the following, upon each of which we will be pleased to provide further information and advice:

  1. Last December’s “Financial Action Task Force’s Mutual Evaluation Report of the UK”, giving rise to the question whether the gambling sector carries the can for AML failings by banks in circumstances when an operator’s customer steals from their employer to fund their gambling activity?
  2. Why does the UK gambling industry fail to meet the Gambling Commission’s AML/CTF expectations, given all of the warnings arising from previous enforcement activity dating back to 2013, the learning derived from the Commission’s public statements and the best practice recommendations contained in its Enforcement Report published last June?
  3. Given the requirement on all EU member states to implement EU Directive provisions, why are there different AML standards in different EU jurisdictions (including Malta), a question also raised in David’s speech at last November’s Eastern European Gaming Summit 2018.
  4. Have such differing standards accounted for particular shortcomings on the part of UK-licensed operators and PML holders based abroad, a question that has given rise to our previous advice that such operators should read the Gambling Commission’s Remote enforcement public statement – lessons to be learned ?
  5. Do the Gambling Commission’s punishments “fit the crimes”, bearing in mind that, for example, the £6.2million penalty imposed on William Hill last February for systemic AML and social responsibility (“SR”) failings is likely to have “hurt” that company less than the £1million penalty incurred by Videoslots last November for weaknesses in its AML and SR systems, taking into account that Videoslots is a much smaller company?
  6. What is the key for successful customer interactions, bearing in mind what is going to be an increased focus on this subject, arising from the forthcoming consultation that, according to the Gambling Commission’s calendar of consultations, will run from February to May this year?
  7. What would be the consequence on the online gambling sector in particular of compulsory customer affordability checks in line with the Gambling Commission’s stated intention last September to consult at a later date on a proposal that licensees have to set mandatory account limits on customers’ gambling activity which can only be changed once the licensee has verified further information about the customer?
  8. As outcomes-focussed guides, are the Gambling Commission’s AML guidance and POCA advice fit for purpose or would more prescriptive requirements achieve greater levels of compliance?
  9. Collaboration – the Gambling Commission’s current call to action – how can operators, trade associations, financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and regulators work together better to achieve the standards the Commission expects?
  10. Why isn’t the Gambling Commission represented on the newly established Economic Crime Strategic Board, bearing in mind participation on that body of the NCA and regulators/representatives of the banking, accounting, solicitors and estate agent sectors?
  11. Will gambling with Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies ever pass the AML test in the UK?
  12. With both a 5th and 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive on the horizon, what is involved and when will it happen?

UPDATE: In relation to point 7 above, just two days after the conference, Experian announced its launch of “the first affordability check for gaming websites”, designed to assist in ensuring that people gamble in an affordable manner. According to  Experian’s press release (that can be downloaded below), the Rank Group will be embarking upon a proof-of-concept trial of the service, launching in the next few weeks.