The Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group (GAMLG) today launches the UK’s first ever money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment of the online and retail betting gambling sectors. The report is targeted at helping tackle the low, but nevertheless important risk, posed by serious and organised criminals of committing money-laundering crimes in the gambling industry.
The report is a summary version of the full risk assessment undertaken which details the mitigation controls in place across the industry. It would not be in the interests of any party to put this information into the public domain as it could assist criminals who may seek to exploit vulnerabilities in the industry to launder money.
Commenting on the launch of the report, GAMLG Chairman, Keith Bristow, said:
“It gives me great pleasure to announce the first publication of the GAMLG Money Laundering Risk Assessment for the remote and Licenced Betting Office sectors.
“This thorough and independently reviewed Risk Assessment, shows that these sectors do not rest on their laurels of having been categorised as low risk by the Government for money laundering purposes, and are committed to continually working to enhance and raise the standards they have in place to further mitigate risks that do exist.
“It demonstrates that the sector realises the importance of putting the safety of the public and operators’ staff first and ensuring the integrity of the industry”.
Commenting on behalf of the Gambling Commission, Richard Watson, Programme Director for Enforcement and Intelligence, said:
“Risk assessments are widely seen as the foundation of any system to manage and prevent money laundering, which assists in developing effective and proportionate procedures and controls for prevention. We continue to work with the industry to raise standards in relation to risk assessments and the effectiveness of operators’ policies, procedures and controls for anti-money laundering. We welcome the commitment and collaborative approach being adopted through GAMLG which contributes to operators’ understanding of the money laundering risks to their businesses.”
This GAMLG risk assessment has been completed to:
- Identify specific risks posed to operators within the gambling sector;
- Promote better understanding of threats and risks within the sector;
- Provide guidance to operators on the specific vulnerabilities of the sector, as well as the mitigation controls available to combat ML/TF risks; and
- Encourage operators to examine their own risks.
The assessment takes into account a number of identified risk areas including those posed by customers; payment types; geography; product types; and employees.
Risks have been calculated following a comprehensive assessment of all the risks by GAMLG members and the residual risk remaining after controls have been implemented. These have been independently reviewed by third parties.
In October 2015 in the Treasury’s National Risk Assessment, the gambling sector was classified as low risk for money laundering purposes. Similarly, the retail betting sector recently received exemption by the Treasury from the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. However, a number of vulnerabilities within the sector were highlighted.
The industry is fully committed to continuing to raise standards, by further reducing the level of risk within the sector which exists from those who may want to use gambling companies as a means by which to legitimise criminal funds.