UKGC Issues Anti-Money Laundering Warning to Operators

  • New EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive comes into effect on January 10
  • The UKGC will publish the fifth edition of its guidance for casino operators on same date
  • Operators have been warned that they must comply with these new rules straight away
anti-money laundering concept
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has warned operators not to fall foul of new anti-money laundering guidelines coming into effect in January. [Image:]

Pre-Christmas warning

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued a warning to licensed operators over their anti-money laundering compliance.

The UKGC has made it clear that there will be major consequences for operators in violation of the new anti-money laundering compliance standards. On January 10, 2020, the latest iteration of the European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directive will come into effect.

there will be consequences for operators in violation of the anti-money laundering compliance standards

On the same day, the UKGC will publish the latest edition of its guide for casino operators, titled Prevention of Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism. This covers both retail and online casinos. As soon as this guide has been published, the new rules come into place.

Therefore, operators must be fully aware of the latest changes and ready to implement them immediately. 

Some of the new changes

New changes will include minimizing anti-money laundering risks when new products, technology, or business practices are launched. There will also need to be specific controls and policies in place for ensuring the implementation of these rules, as well as making ensuring staff receive sufficient training.

There will be a renewed focus on making sure that customer identity verification is processed by an independent and reliable source. The UKGC will also have more of a focus on transactions that are unusually large or complex, especially if it is coming from a high-risk nation, or if there is no clear legal or economic purpose.

Of course, the UKGC did admit that implementing policy changes can often take some time. However, it still wants all operators to act promptly and introduce the new changes with sufficient urgency.

The crackdown has already begun

Throughout 2019, the UKGC clamped down on operators that were not up to scratch with their anti-money laundering policies. This includes notable operators such as Gamesys, the Kindred Group, and Betfred.

Betfred did not comply with the appropriate anti-money laundering measures

It was on October 10 that Betfred received a fine of £322,000 ($417,000) from the UKGC over its anti-money laundering compliance failings. Betfred admitted that there were shortcomings and that it would be collaborating on the issue with the UKGC.

The key flashpoint in the Betfred case related to an incident that happened in 2017. This saw a customer deposit £210,000 ($272,000), losing £140,000 ($181,000). It later turned out that this money had been stolen by the customer and that Betfred did not comply with the appropriate anti-money laundering measures within 12 days of this transaction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *