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Approach to preventing money laundering

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As the gambling supervisory body we have a duty to ensure adequate controls are in place to prevent casinos in this country being used for money laundering or terrorist funding.

All gambling operators have a responsibility to keep financial crime out of gambling, but non-remote and remote casinos have additional responsibilities under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (the Regulations).   

Keeping financial crime out of gambling

While we are not currently the supervisory authority for other licensed gambling operators, we are concerned about the potential for them to be targets for financial crime.

We operate a risk-based regulatory regime, concentrating our efforts on those operators and issues where the impact would be the highest.

The Statement of Principles for Licensing and Regulation sets out the principles which underpin the our approach to investigations and prosecutions. 

Our approach to anti-money laundering sits within this framework, including how we act as a supervisory authority:

  • raising awareness of your responsibilities under POCA and the Regulations
  • providing information and guidance to operators
  • establishing a single point of contact for the exchange of information and intelligence
  • monitoring the submission of suspicious activity reports and law enforcement activity
  • assessing operators’ understanding and application of anti-money laundering risk-management controls
  • producing risk assessments
  • ensuring that the integrity of the licensed gambling sector is not compromised by criminal activity.

Further details about our general approach can be found in our Licensing, Compliance and Enforcement Policy Statement.

Keeping you informed

Our formal guidance, The prevention of money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism: Guidance for remote and non-remote casinos, is designed to help you understand what is expected, particularly in relation to taking a risk-based approach. 

Adherence to our guidance is an ordinary code provision in the Licence conditions and codes of practice and failure to comply may have an impact on your suitability to hold a licence.

We have established forums for both the remote and non-remote casino industries. These identify and disseminate best practice, ensure effective communication between the industry and the Commission, and support policy development in the field of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing. These forums meet twice a year.

How we monitor and assess money laundering controls

We make use of a range of tools when assessing the anti-money laundering controls of casinos:

  • Questionnaires: We may ask you to complete request self-assessment questionnaires anti-money laundering procedures.
  • Information requests: We may request information, for example organisation charts, internal procedures, breaches logs, job descriptions of senior management and periodic returns.
  • Review of case files kept by casinos: We may analyse your decisions made while implementing your anti-money laundering controls to assess whether those controls are adequate.
  • Thematic work: We will sometimes seek to involve a number of casinos in a piece of work on a particular topic. This work may involve a number of the supervisory tools listed here.
  • Visits: We may visit your casino premises to meet senior management and examine documents.
  • Test purchasing: We may carry out test purchase exercises to check your casino’s processes and procedures.
  • Information from other sources: We assess information and alerts from other sources, such as law enforcement agencies, other supervisors, employees, other businesses or the public.

Investigation and enforcement powers

We have the power to make use of a range of investigation and enforcement tools when looking into suspected failures in the anti-money laundering controls of casinos. We may:

  • inspect any part of the premises including gaming machines
  • question any person on the premises
  • inspect any written or electronic records
  • demand a copy of an entry in a written or electronic records
  • remove and retain anything reasonably believed to constitute or contain evidence of the committing of an offence under the Act, or the breach of a term or condition of a licence issued under the Act
  • remove and retain anything reasonably believed to be used or having been used in the committing of an offence under the Act. 

Regulatory action

We recognise that a risk-based approach is not a zero-failure regime. Therefore, failures in anti-money laundering controls will not automatically result in regulatory sanctions.

We will take robust action, in collaboration with law enforcement, against casino operators who demonstrate persistent or material breaches of the Regulations.

The EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive requires supervisors like us to have the power to impose effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for non-compliance with anti-money laundering requirements. Therefore, we are able to:

  • commence a review into the manner in which a casino has carried on licensed activities and prepare a case for regulatory sanctions
  • suspend or revoke an operating licence.

We have similar powers to review personal licences and to either suspend or revoke, or impose a financial penalty on the licence holder.