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The European Commission calls for big AML changes

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As Anti Money Laundering changes are on the cards, the question remains if the casino industry will be affected.

The casino industry is one that is always facing new challenges and changes. The most recent potential change is a package of reforms put forward by the European Commission to counteract money laundering in the EU.

In order to curb the rising money laundering issues experienced across all businesses within the EU, the European Commission is calling for extreme changes and safety in gambling. If these reforms are accepted, casinos will be one of the largest industries affected.

Big changes on the cards

The new package reforms put forth by the European Commission, aim to meet needs and achieve a number of goals. By creating a new EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), the following is hoped to be achieved.

  • Setting up a single system for AML and CFT (countering the financing of terrorism).
  • More detailed rules regarding customer due diligence.
  • A deeper understanding of beneficial ownership where applicable.
  • Creation of a national-level Financial Intelligence Unit.
  • The supervising of risky financial institutions.
  • To enhance cooperation between national-level bodies to detect cross-border money flow.

“Every fresh money laundering scandal is one scandal too many – and [is] a wake-up call that our work to close the gaps in our financial system is not yet done,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice-president of the EU committee 'For an Economy that Works for People'.

"We have made huge strides in recent years and our EU AML rules are now among the toughest in the world. But they now need to be applied consistently and closely supervised to make sure they really bite. This is why we are today taking these bold steps to close the door on money laundering and stop criminals from lining their pockets with ill-gotten gains," he continued.

Blacklists and limits

Another addition proposed in the reform is the creation of black lists and grey lists. These lists will include countries that have a higher risk of being involved in money laundering or that do not follow through with mandates to stop money laundering.

Recently, the Philippines and Malta were both added to the Financial Action Task Force's grey list. This Task Force is designed to stamp out money laundering on an international level and deemed these two countries to be a risk. The FATF then provides a checklist of requirements and suggestions that countries on the grey list can use to further protect themselves and their people.

Finally, the reform suggests that a limit of €10,000 should be applied to cash payments, as well as ensuring that AML laws apply to the crypto sector.

Will the casino industry be affected? 

If these laws come into play, the question on many people's lips is whether or not the casino industry will feel the knock-on effect? As of yet, there is no mention of the gambling sector being put under particular pressure if these regulations are accepted.

However, the online gambling industry is often the first to receive scrutinisation so it wouldn't be a surprise if new laws were crafted to make sure that casinos remain above board.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has already shown their support of the AMLA laws, saying: “The European Gaming and Betting Association welcomes the proposals and reaffirms its commitment to work with all relevant regulatory bodies, including the European Commission, to combat money laundering in the EU."

The only sector that may be affected by the current proposed laws is the crypto gambling space. The boom of the crypto market has drawn the attention of many lawmakers and the anonymous aspect of the sector causes concern, especially when it comes to money laundering.

Thankfully, the European Commission has stated that they wish to address these threats without creating unnecessary and excessive regulations.

The proposed reforms will be considered by the European President and Council. If passed, they will be operational from some time in 2024.

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