It’s time to break the link between gambling and money laundering

Many sectors provide lucrative opportunities for money launderers to clean their dirty money, so it’s not surprising that gambling has long been seen as a sector that’s open to abuse.

Casinos offer money launders two ways to clean their cash. The first sees an individual buy chips with illicit cash, play briefly and then cash in the remaining chips for ‘legitimate’ funds or a receipt to claim the proceeds as gambling winnings.

The second is gambling in high-odds games. One way to minimise risk is to bet on every possible outcome of an event that has many possible outcomes, so no outcomes have short odds, and the bettor will have one or more winning bets that can be shown as the source of money. The losing bets remain hidden.


However, gambling operators can mitigate these risks by undertaking robust identity and AML checks on their customers. Robust is the key word here - it’s not enough to do a ‘light touch’ quick look at an identity document. Improvements in identity verification technology mean that gambling operators have a powerful array of tools at their disposal. Electronic checks against identity databases are essential, especially when combined with digital capture of an identity document and facial biometric checks.

This layered approach, with multiple data reference points, creates a secure framework to protect your business and your customers. These electronic checks can be configured to use specific data checks, scoring mechanisms, fuzzy matching, as appropriate for an organisation’s risk-based approach.

Checking watchlists for politically exposed persons (PEPs) and sanctioned individuals is another vital piece of the identity puzzle.

An important component of every identity verification process is the ability to demonstrate to a regulator what checks were carried out and how the results were determined. Therefore, an electronic identity verification system must provide a clear audit trail of checks and results.

GBG Senior Business Development Manager Rebekah Jackson said: “Implementing the right combination of digital checks creates a hostile environment for fraudsters and stops your business and your customers from facilitating money laundering”.


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