Gambling operators should start thinking about making clear the low-risk nature of their businesses if they want to avoid the extra costs and bureaucracy that would come with being incorporated under new Europe-wide anti-money laundering regulations.
That is the view of Monica Monaco, an expert on European regulatory affairs and managing director of Trust EU Affairs, who was speaking today (Wednesday) at a panel session entitled ‘Implementing the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (4MLD)’ at ICE Totally Gaming at London’s ExCel Centre.
Monaco outlined what she described as a “weak and flexible” policy that will be voted on by the European Parliament in the next couple of months, citing disagreements between Member States and between the European Council and Parliament about the law as the reason for it being so open to interpretation by individual nations.
Monaco specifically expanded on the point made by moderator Roy Ramm, governance and public affairs director at Caesars Entertainment UK, who noted that previous legislation had only included casinos while the 4MLD could expand that to any gambling operator, including the UK’s betting shops and on-course bookmakers.
Monaco explained: “4MLD adds a risk-based approach which was not in 3MLD. Risk will be assessed at a European level, national level and also by what are described as ‘obliged entities’. While casinos have to comply with 4MLD, other entities can be exempted fully or in part by Member States based upon proven low-risk, the scale of their operational service and the nature of their business.
“So, my advice would be for companies and sectors to get knocking on doors with the relevant regulators and start a conversation about how you can show that you are low risk.”
Regulators also suggested that preparation is key, with 4MLD set to be implemented in all Member States by April 2017. Nick Tofiluk, director of regulatory operations at the UK Gambling Commission, said that it was important for those sectors that have previously not been included in European anti-money laundering regulations to plan effectively.
He said: “Marshalling information and putting together an information management strategy is important. Think about the speed, volume and variety of the information that will be generated by this directive over the coming years. It will appear to be complex but should not be if managed properly.
“Operators should think about the size of the risk they pose and also the evidence of risk, specifically there should be a freer exchange of information between companies and regulators if they wish to prove a low level of risk.”
Philip Taylor, in-house counsel, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, also called for greater dialogue between potential obliged entities, which will include B2C, B2B and enablers, and regulators.
He added: “They should look to engage with regulators so that regulators can then feed any concerns upwards. I can’t see humungous changes as, for example, bookmakers under Alderney’s control are already under our existing anti-money laundering provisions.”