Money laundering in UK online casinos Luke Haward, CDC Gaming Reports · January 8, 2018 at 12:04 pm There are 195 licensed gambling operators in the UK, so when the Gambling Commission (UKGC) states that they are investigating 17 of them for failing to put into place sufficient measures to prevent money laundering, that’s a pretty high ratio, almost 1 in 10. Not only that, but an as-yet-undisclosed five operators are being considered for a license review. Depending on the conclusion of those reviews, they could lose the right to operate at all in the UK. The Commission have already indicated to these seventeen operators that it has found a serious lack of control in prevention measures against money laundering, problem gambler prohibition, and even financing of terrorism through their operations. In an open letter sent out to all licensed operators, they summarize the findings of their recent compliance assessment on the sector. It seems the Commission is willing to roll up its sleeves and get involved here, stating in their open letter to the industry that they have a “view to exercising our regulatory powers under section 117” of the Gambling Act of 2005. The timing of this letter is no great surprise. There has been mounting concern on all sides, both politically and in the press, concerning the standards by which elements within the industry are currently operating. 2018 is expected by many to be a year where we’ll see the regulatory screws tightening. The UKGC noted several areas where failings had been noted, including performing sufficient customer due diligence with regard to the risk of money laundering activities, and giving suitable training with regard to anti-money laundering (AML) and the keeping of suspicious activity reports. One of their most damning criticisms levied thus far was that some Money Laundering Reporting Officers, when assessed, were found to possess “no formal AML qualifications” and furthermore were “unable to provide suitable explanations as to what constitutes money laundering”. This is pretty appalling, if those tasked with the precise role have a flawed understanding of the basic concepts at work. Finally, the Commission has uncovered “many cases” where “potential signs of problem gambling…did not trigger a customer interaction”. In other words, that the industry in many cases is not effective at identifying and acting on problem gambling. It looks like the hammer is coming down, and it’s not before time. Some operators just need the threat of regulation to get their act together. What will be interesting is to get the popcorn out and watch the fallout if, and when, any major players come under the UKGC’s ban hammer.