In its response to a recent European Commission consultation, EGBA outlines its support for a consistent application of anti-money laundering (AML) rules across the EU and its commitment to promote the highest standards of AML compliance in Europe’s online gambling sector.
In July last year, the European Commission published a package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering (AML) framework. The legislative package will now be discussed by the European Parliament and Council. To gather input from other stakeholders, the Commission also recently invited feedback on its proposals through a public consultation.
In its response to the Commission’s consultation, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) welcomes the Commission’s AML proposals and outlines its support for a consistent application of AML rules across the EU.
As AML is one of the key compliance priorities for gambling operators coming from the licensing obligations and the very nature of our industry, the EGBA says it has always fully supported the inclusion of the gambling sector into the EU AML framework.
The association has also been on the forefront of work on AML for the gambling sector by educating and encouraging operators to enforce the highest standards – and is now working on the first pan-European Guidelines on fighting money-laundering for the online gambling industry. Sector-specific guidance is unfortunately still lacking across the EU and the EGBA aims to fill in that gap by introducing self-regulation rules that will cover recommendations for conducting risk assessment, customer detection and conducting due diligence for the gambling sector.
“More guidance from proposed EU AML authority (AMLA), such as on customer due diligence measures, enhanced due diligence and even customer risk assessment, which will be very valuable (especially from the perspective of conflicting nature of AML and Data Protection regulations),” said the EGBA.
“We have also been calling for the introduction of sector specific Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) forms for many years (among others), which may be best achieved by organizing work within AMLA via an industry-specific structure with clusters. It is also important that the tasks of the centralized authority and the national authorities are clearly divided as to prevent potential duplication of reporting and higher administrative and compliance costs.”
The proposal also indicated that these initiatives will come as the form of regulation, not Directives, meaning these “more binding and directly enforceable rules” should contribute to a “unified, strengthened, and predictable legal framework.”
“The EGBA considers that the divergence in the application of the 4th AMLD across the EU has been very wide and detrimental to a consistent application of the EU AML Framework. It has led to a lot of unnecessary gold-plating as well as huge compliance and administrative costs for the sector.”
While the existing thresholds “are reasonable and strict,” they added, ”they need to be applied in a consistent manner, which a Regulation will bring.”
“We also welcome the strengthening of the rules for granting exemptions by Member States to prevent abuses. Member States need to conduct a much more thorough and reasoned assessment before an exception is granted to ensure the system works without gambling sectors being unduly exempted simply because of national lobbying.”