How to submit Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)
Submitting a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) protects individuals, organisations and UK financial institutions from the risk of laundering the proceeds of crime. Find out more about SARs, including how they're used, on the National Crime Agency website (opens in new tab).
All operators are required to make a report where they know or where they suspect that a person is engaged in money laundering, including criminal spend. Operators must ensure they are compliant with the following obligations.
Requirements for casino businesses
Operators and employees working in remote and non-remote casinos are required to submit a SAR in respect of information that comes to them in the course of their business if they know, or suspect or have reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting, that a person is engaged in, or attempting, money laundering or terrorist financing. This is required under Part 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) (opens in new tab) and the Terrorism Act 2000 (opens in new tab). Casino operators should follow our guidance to ensure they meet their responsibilities for the regulated sector.
Requirements for all other gambling businesses
All gambling businesses have requirements to report suspicious activity as part of their duties under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). Operators should follow our guidance to ensure they meet their duties and responsibilities under POCA.
The SARs submission process
Before you submit
We would strongly recommend following the relevant guidance to avoid encountering any unnecessary delays in the reporting process.
Watch our video guides
- How to submit better quality Suspicious Activity Reports
- Why quality Suspicious Activity Reports matter.
UK Financial Intelligence Unit guidance
We would encourage operators to consult the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) SARs guidance (PDF) (opens in new tab) and their guidance on SAR glossary codes and reporting routes (PDF) (opens in new tab).
Operators can also listen to the UKFIU podcast (opens in new tab). Episodes cover topics including frequently asked questions for SARs submissions.
Submitting a report
Reports must be submitted to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Operators can submit by using:
- the online SAR system
- paper forms
- encrypted bulk data exchange.
See our guidance for more information on submitting a report to the NCA.
Requesting a defence
If operators handle any proceeds of crime they may commit one of the principal money laundering offences in POCA. However, if the operator submits a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the National Crime Agency this can provide a defence.
Operators should follow our guidance for casinos on requesting a defence from the NCA. This also includes what nominated officers will need to consider as part of their reporting obligations.
All other gambling businesses
See our guidance on requesting a defence from the NCA under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT). This also includes what information is needed when applying for a defence.
Watch our video guide
We would encourage operators to follow our guidance on submitting a defence against money laundering, which was produced in partnership with the National Crime Agency.
Remote operators based outside of Great Britain
We have issued guidance on reporting suspicious activity for remote operators based overseas. This is to help remote operators decide which Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to report money laundering activity to and when to seek appropriate content.
We have produced specific guidance on suspicious activity reporting requirements for remote casinos.
After a report has been made
The UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) will receive the report and send them to the appropriate organisations for investigation.
When an enquiry is under investigation, the investigating officer may contact the operator to ensure that they have all the relevant information which supports the original SAR. Read more about what happens after a report has been made.
Last updated: 13 March 2023
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