EGBA welcomes new AML framework approved by European Parliament

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The European Gaming and Betting Association has welcomed the new EU anti-money laundering framework package approved by the European Parliament.

The EGBA believes the changes will strengthen the EU’s approach to tackling money laundering and “benefit online gambling operators by standardising AML rules and reporting requirements across member states”.

With formal adoption by the Council of the EU expected in May, before being published in the EU’s Official Journal, the new package will contain:

  • A single rulebook regulation – provisions on conducting due diligence on customers, transparency of beneficial owners and the use of crypto-assets.
  • The sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive – national provisions on supervision and national AML authorities, as well as on the access of authorities to necessary and reliable information, eg beneficial ownership registers.
  • The establishment of the European Anti-Money Laundering Authority – AMLA – will have supervisory and investigative powers to ensure compliance with AML requirements, operating in conjunction with national AML authorities.

In addition, the EGBA noted that online gambling operators will benefit from the creation of a harmonised reporting format for suspicious transaction reports under the competence of the AMLA, having the same STR requirements across member states and “setting clear and consistent expectations that will reduce administrative burdens and costs”.

Dr Ekaterina Hartmann, Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs of EGBA, commented: “We welcome the European Parliament’s approval of the new anti-money laundering package. The new framework will set high standards and ensure greater consistency in the application of AML rules across the EU. 

“Online gambling operators, especially those operating in multiple countries, will benefit from a single rulebook and harmonised reporting requirements that will unravel national complexities. We will look to review our industry guidelines on AML to ensure their alignment with the new EU rules.”

Last year, the EGBA developed industry-specific AML guidelines to help operators comply with the new rules. These guidelines “apply a risk-based approach and include practical measures that operators can take – on customer and business risk assessments, customer due diligence processes, suspicious transaction reporting and record-keeping”.

Members already apply the guidelines and submit annual reports to the association summarising their measure implementation progress, but these guidelines are also open to all operators based in the EU.

Hartmann concluded: “By signing up to the guidelines, operators can already prepare themselves for the incoming changes in the EU rules and join our members in their efforts to proactively and positively contribute to the EU’s fight against money laundering.”