UKGC Reminds Operators on the Updated Money Laundering Regulations

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If you’ve been reading the news, you must have noticed that the gambling industry in the UK is facing many changes. A few weeks ago, UK’s major political parties shared their manifestos promising that gambling in the country will not stay the same, regardless of the election results, with stricter rules on their mind. Politicians promised to review the 2005 Gambling Act, and now that the election results are finally here, we’re yet to see what exactly will happen.

In the meantime, the UK Gambling Commission is doing its job as expected. The regulator recently published its expectations in terms of the Money Laundering Regulations updates that are to take effect on the 10th of January, 2020. The Commission made it perfectly clear that it expects from operators to abide by the new updates, or else. In addition, the regulator launched the new mobile-friendly service, a self-service portal for personal gambling license holders.



The Money Laundering Regulations Updates

The UKGC never stops updating, changing and implementing new gambling regulations. The new Money Laundering Regulation updates are set to be implemented from the 10th of January, 2020, and on the same date, the regulator will also publish the fifth edition of “The Prevention of Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism” guidance for both online and land-based casinos. The guidance will also come into force effective immediately on the 10th of January.

Therefore, the Commission published a statement on its official website, reminding online and offline operators that they need to take the updates seriously. The regulator never kids about these things, and actively inspects and fines operators for failures in Money Laundering and Social Responsibility Regulations, just like it did in June with Platinum Gaming, Kindred’s brand, fining it £1.6 million.

However, the watchdog said that it recognizes the fact that implementing changes takes time, and it would take that fact into account. Nevertheless, it also said it expected operators to implement the updates with the necessary urgency, to act promptly and invest appropriately if any additional sources and technology were required to accommodate the updates. Therefore, it advised casino businesses to review and accordingly amend their risk assessments and associated policies, controls and procedure related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

There are several updates.

The first two are to Regulation 19. Operators are required to take appropriate measures in preparation and during the adoption of new products or business practices and assess and solve any money laundering risks that could arise from such adoption, and the existing or similar requirements for new sources and technology. For such measures, they have to have specific policies, procedures and controls.

There's also an update to Regulation 24. Appropriate training in counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering financing must be provided to any agents they use for the purpose of their operation and business. In terms of updates to Regulation 28 for what was considered "obtained via a reliable source, who's not dependent of the person whose identity is being verified", operators will receive further direction by the regulator.

And finally, the update to Regulation 33. Operators will be specified with further requirements for the boosted player due diligence measures. This refers to: 1. The high-risk third countries, or players who are third-party nationals but have obtained citizenship in an EEA country in exchange for investment in corporate entities in the EEA country, property purchase, government bonds or a simple exchange of capital; 2. Players who are beneficiaries of life insurance policies; 3. Complex or extremely large transactions, or transactions with no apparent economic or legal purpose.



The New Online and Mobile-Friendly Self-Service Portal for Personal License Holders

The new service was launched a few days ago by the UK Gambling Commission which allows personal gambling license holders to manage personal details, download e-copies of the license, report key events linked to that license and get access to the details far quicker than before. The processing tool this service offers reduces the processing time from several weeks or month to only a few days.

UK Gambling Commission’s Executive Director Helen Venn enthusiastically stated that the new service had only been running a few weeks and already had over 4,000 users. The improved processing time of 80% was reported. Half of the users accessed the portal via a mobile device, managing their license on the go, saving time and improving their experience. The Commission reminded those personal license holders to start the application process again if they had not submitted but started the maintenance application via the old portal prior to the 26th of November, 2019.
 

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