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Compliance Updates

Europe that Protects: Stronger rules criminalising money laundering enter into force

Zoltan Tundik

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Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Europe for Citizens - Meeting of the Civil Dialogue - Date: 28/11/2018 Reference: P-038870/00-05 Location: Brussels - EC/Centre A. Borschette © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Benas Gerdziunas
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Today, the new measures to counter money laundering by criminal law enter into force across the EU. The new rules will ensure that dangerous criminals and terrorists face equally severe penalties for money laundering wherever they are in the EU, with a minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “If we want to catch criminals and terrorists, we have to follow the money. Today, we are beefing up the EU’s response to money laundering, making sure that criminals and terrorists no longer get away with illegally gained money and face deserved justice. A Europe that protects is a Europe that effectively prevents and prosecutes criminals.”

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “Money laundering is a key tool used by terrorists and serious criminals to obtain funding – by harmonising the crime and the punishment across the EU, we can further close down the space in which they operate. Member States now need to implement the new rules without delay.”

The Commission proposed to harmonise offences and sanctions for money laundering across the EU in December 2017. While all Member States currently criminalise money laundering the definitions of this crime as well as the penalties related to it differ across the EU, allowing criminals to effectively “window shop” and exploit the differences between national legislation.

With the new rules in force that will be no longer possible. Member States now have 24 months to implement the new rules into national law and notify the Commission accordingly.

The recent changes and all AML related topics will be highlighted during Prague Gaming Summit by the attending experts of the gambling industry in a special panel discussion. You can find more details on the following page.

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Compliance Updates

UKGC Imposes £322,000 Fine on Betfred for Money Laundering Failures

Niji Narayan

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UKGC Imposes £322,000 Fine on Betfred for Money Laundering Failures
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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has imposed a fine of £322,000 on online gambling operator Petfre, trading as Betfred, for money laundering failures.

An investigation by the Gambling Commission revealed that the operator failed to carry out adequate source of funds checks on a customer who deposited £210,000, and lost £140,000, of stolen money in a 12-day period in November 2017. A customer being able to deposit and lose such significant amounts in such a short period of time clearly indicated failings in the effectiveness of Petfre’s anti-money laundering policies and procedures.

As part of this settlement, Petfre will return £140,000 to the identified victim and make a £182,000 payment in lieu of a financial penalty which will be spent accelerating delivery of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

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Compliance Updates

LeoVegas Wins Swedish Online Gambling License Extension

Niji Narayan

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LeoVegas Wins Swedish Online Gambling License Extension
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LeoVegas has won the court battle against the Swedish regulator’s decision to issue a two-year gaming license rather than the standard five-year term.

In November 2018, LeoVegas was among the first online gambling operators to be issued a license to operate in Sweden’s new regulated market, which took effect in January. But while the majority of Sweden’s licensees got five-year permits, LeoVegas was approved for only a two-year period.

Sweden’s Spelinspektionen gambling regulatory body said the shorter term was warranted due to LeoVegas having been fined £600k by the UK Gambling Commission in May 2018 for what the UKGC deemed to be misleading advertising and for allowing self-excluded gamblers to access LeoVegas’ gambling products.

LeoVegas appealed Spelinspektionen’s ruling to the Administrative Court in Linköping and the Court issued a judgment last week granting LeoVegas the full five-year license term.

The Court also found the UKGC judgment alone “does not constitute a sufficient basis” for Spelinspektionen to deviate from its standard five-year licensing period and the punishment of a shorter license duration was neither “justified [n]or proportionate.”

Gustaf Hagman, the CEO of LeoVegas said the decision was “confirmation that we are conducting a professional business.” Hagman said the extended license “gives us peace of mind in the Swedish market, where we take market share month by month.”

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Compliance Updates

ASA Bans Casumo Ad for Targeting Problem Gamblers

Niji Narayan

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ASA Bans Casumo Ad for Targeting Problem Gamblers
Image Source: theopengamingsociety.org
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The ASA has banned an ad of the online casino Casumo after it targeted the customers who googled “How to unsubscribe from all gambling.”

The ASA said it considered anyone searching “how to unsubscribe from all gambling” was looking for ways to reduce their access to gambling.

“We considered such consumers would be likely to include vulnerable persons looking to restrict their exposure to gambling outlets and ads for gambling. The advertising code required that marketing communications for gambling should have particular regard to the need to protect vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited,” ASA said.

The ASA told Casumo that the ad cannot appear again and that it needed to ensure future Google ads are responsibly targeted.

“We require all advertisers to comply with local laws and regulations, including the CAP Code. We adhere to the ASA’s rulings and we continue to review our systems to ensure that they remain relevant and useful,” a spokesman for Google said.

“Casumo engaged fully with the Advertising Standards Agency throughout this process. Our position can clearly be seen in the response to the ASA in the publication and as stated in that publication we reviewed and adapted processes around this to ensure that we examine words that are or should be excluded from such searches going forwards,” a spokesman for Casumo said.

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