The European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA), Europe’s trade body for the gambling industry, has come forward to join the European Commission (EC) in the fight towards the growing money laundering and financial terrorism threats. On Tuesday, the EC unveiled a new proposal with ambitious recommendations to update the EU’s anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financial terrorism (CFT) regulations.
In the proposal, the EC suggests creating a new AML authority for the entire European Union. Furthermore, in a bid to wage the AML and CFT war more effectively, the EC proposes that all the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of all EU member states follow a ‘single EU AML/CTF rulebook’ to sync the standards.
For instance, the EC proposal recommends that all EU member states impose a €10,000 limit on cash transactions. The new directive also aims to implement tougher oversight standards of financial transactions that take place across EU member states and third countries. From this tighter monitoring initiative, the EU then plans to create a new ‘greylist’ and ‘blacklist’ of member states and third countries. According to a recent Reuters report, part of the EC document reads:
“By directly supervising and taking decisions towards some of the riskiest cross-border financial sector obliged entities, the Authority will contribute directly to preventing incidents of money laundering/terrorist financing in the Union. At the same time, it will coordinate national supervisory authorities and assist them to increase their effectiveness in enforcing the single rulebook and ensuring homogenous and high quality supervisory standards, approaches and risk assessment methodologies.”
Following the drafting of the new proposal, Mairead McGuinness, the Commissioner of financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union, supported the document in the following statement:
“Money laundering poses a clear and present threat to citizens, democratic institutions, and the financial system. The scale of the problem cannot be underestimated, and the loopholes that criminals can exploit need to be closed. Today’s package significantly ramps up our efforts to stop dirty money being washed through the financial system. We are increasing coordination and cooperation between authorities in member states and creating a new EU AML authority. These measures will help us protect the integrity of the financial system and the single market.”
EGBA is Game With the New EU-wide AML and CFT Rulebook
EC’s proposal is intended to offer better protection to EU citizens and safeguard the EU financial system against money laundering and terrorism financing, in line with the EU Security Union Strategy for 2020-2025.
While the proposals are more focused on financial services, they will likely lead to a few changes in the EU’s gambling sector. In a statement on Tuesday, the EGBA said that if implemented, the new rulebook could have an effect on “beneficial ownership, customer due diligence and the establishment of a new EU AML authority.” EGBA director Ekaterina Hartmann shared a few words to express the trade body’s support for the EU’s move, saying:
“We welcome the efforts of the European Commission to continuously improve the EU framework for combatting money-laundering. EGBA members already apply the highest regulatory standards in AML compliance and are fully committed to tackling money laundering in the online gambling sector. To support this, we are working closely with our members to develop EU-wide, sector-specific guidelines to help Europe’s online gambling companies comply with the increasingly complex AML rules in the EU.”
The European Commission’s document will now be passed over to the European Parliament and Council for deliberation. This consideration and approval process could take up to 18 months before the proposals are finally implemented across all EU member states.