As of late, gambling regulations and anti-money laundering (AML) protocols have been expanding to prevent criminal abuse and increase the safety of gaming sites. In an effort to comply with regulations, online gaming operators have joined the front line in minimizing the occurrence of criminal abuse.
The online gaming industry is growing exponentially and the number of companies that provide sports betting, lotteries, casino games, and bingo is on the rise. Predictions for the global gaming market show a significant increase over the next five years; $50 billion by 2019 and $55 billion by 2021.
Most of the gambling sites in the global market offer sports betting and casino-type games such as slots and card games. The casino sites have been growing the fastest and there are many countries where a company can obtain a gaming license to operate. Each country offers a unique framework for regulation and licensing with some being stricter than others.
In an attempt to regulate and reduce the risk of criminal activity, many gaming operators worldwide have implemented strict AML compliance measures. These include Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures as well as filing currency transaction reports (CTR) and suspicious activity reports (SAR) to discourage criminal activity and maintain the integrity of online gaming.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently published an in-depth report on AML compliance within the U.S. online gaming industry. The findings show that gaming companies have greatly increased AML compliance measures and have invested in combating unethical and criminal activity such as money laundering and terrorist financing. The industry-wide boost in compliance can be credited to a combination of monitoring illicit activities, the implementation of due diligence, and by boosting the filings of CTR and SARs.
Although there has been an increase in compliance, it’s worthy to note that the high standards required can be difficult for operators to comply with, regardless of their size. Gaming companies need large resources to keep up with the necessary demands and expenses. With the standards being updated regularly a lot of effort needs to be made and results in the increased need for manpower and funds. AML compliance can be so complex and detailed that even a highly regulated jurisdiction such as the UK can find it difficult.
Compliance regulations are extremely important to uphold the integrity of online gambling. Last week, gaming operator 888 was penalized by the UK Gambling Commission with a £7.8 million fine for ‘outrageous’ misconduct and failing to comply with regulations. The main offense that was uncovered was that over 7,000 players that opted for self-exclusion (self-imposed ban) were able to access their gaming accounts. Many players that self-exclude are those that have an addiction and are trying to quit, making them more vulnerable when they can access their accounts.
According to industry experts, the rising compliance standards and regulations will present gaming operators with increased costs. On the other hand, the more comprehensive regulations will boost the trustworthiness of gaming sites and contribute to the overall growth in the gaming market.
While AML compliance is extremely important in the industry, operators claim that the regulations can be harmful to players as well. For example, when a player wins a large amount of prize money, the regulations make it difficult for operators to pay out and thereby prolonging the process. This can result in the player filing a complaint about not receiving payment owed. While gaming regulations are put in place to protect players, it’s evident that they can work against them in certain cases.
Gambling Compliance Summarized:
- The gaming industry is dedicated to upholding integrity and a culture of compliance.
- Compliance within the industry will improve and grow stronger.
- Operators will continue to strengthen their AML compliance such as due diligence and filing reports.
- The gaming industry recognizes the significance of AML, KYC, and the monitoring of monetary transactions.
- Compliance with regulations incurs expenses that are expected to rise.
- Small and medium-sized companies might struggle to comply with the high standards and costly fees of gaming regulations.
Michael Dewan is head of PR at GBO International Financial Services LTD. GBO is becoming a world leader in providing corporate services for international companies. These services include assistance with incorporation of companies, opening business bank accounts, licensing, payment solutions, nominee services and more. Learn more information on how to acquire a gaming license today.