Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling regulator, announced earlier this week that it has joined forces with 15 other agencies and watchdogs to develop together a strategy for combating money laundering and financing of terrorism.
The main tasks before Swedish authorities in their joint work will be to act as a forum for exchange of information and knowledge between all participating organizations, to identify, map, and analyze risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing and compile national risk assessments that would help in combating crime, and to provide businesses with information that would help in their efforts to prevent becoming a tool for money laundering and terrorist financing.
Preventing Sweden’s gambling industry from being used for money laundering and financing of terrorism has also been one of the main tasks before licensed gaming and betting operators. The country opened its market for international operations early this year and more than 70 companies have been authorized by Spelinspektionen to operate in the space.
Gambling Companies and AML Efforts
In a statement published earlier this week on its official website, Spelinspektionen said that it will ramp up its efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in the gaming industry and urged operators to cooperate and ensure that it has deployed the right tools to protect their operations.
Spelinspektionen noted that the process of licensing operators to provide gaming and betting services on the territory of Sweden also includes detecting the true owner of a license applicant. The regulator also stressed on the fact that it requires its licensees to ensure they have deployed effective Know Your Customer procedures for identifying their customers and the sources of their gambling money. KYC is a necessary element in countering money laundering and terrorist financing within the gambling industry.
Commenting on the latest wave of AML action, Fredrik Lindquist, who works with supervision and money laundering issues at Spelinspektionen, said that they are currently working on launching a service for verifying information about license applicants, including their group’s structure.
He went on to explain that such a service is a necessity as by creating complex cross-border group structures with legal entities in different jurisdictions, license applicants can hide their actual owners and the origin of their money.
News about Spelinspektionen’s collaboration with more Swedish authorities emerged shortly after the regulator’s Danish counterpart – Spillemyndigheden – launched a new program for combating money laundering within Denmark’s regulated gambling industry.
Spillemyndigheden launched last month a special whistleblower program that encourages people employed at locally licensed gambling companies to report violations or potential violations of Denmark’s anti-money laundering regulations.
Spelinspektionen’s announcement also arrives as the UK Gambling Commission has slapped hefty fines on two of its licensees – Gamesys and Kindred Group – for money laundering failures. Gamesys received a £1.2 million penalty, while Kindred Group’s Platinum Gaming got a £1.6 million for failing to address incidents of stolen money being used for gambling.
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June 13, 2019