Gambling Commission Notices Upturn in Suspicious Activity
The Gambling Commission in Great Britain has made its licence holders aware of what they say is an increase in “suspicious activity”. Reports have been submitted on the patterns to the NCA, the National Crime Agency.
The Gambling Commission releases regular ’emerging risks’ bulletins. In its latest version, it has noted that the National Crime Agency has received more suspicious activity reports during the COVID-19 pandemic, going back to March of last year.
More Suspicious Activity Reports Filed in Past Year
The Suspicious Activity Reports, known as SAR’s, have been submitted more often during COVID-19. That is according to a statement from the latest UKGC bulletin.
The Commission has reiterated that its licenced operators should always enter a SAR to the Financial Intelligence United of the United Kingdom whenever it has the knowledge, or even suspicion of, money laundering or gambling-related money being used to finance terrorism.
The bulletin also stated that any failure on the operators’ part might result in the operator themselves committing a criminal offence.
More Scrutiny of Funds Needed
The latest money laundering regulations came into effect in the UK in January 2020. The attached suspicious activity reported to the NCA having pushed the Gambling Commission to ask for stricter due diligence from its licenced operators.
As well as the general increase in suspicious activity attached to gambling accounts, Cryptoasset payments have also been under the microscope in recent times. This is because Cryptoasset payments are said to be counted as ‘high risk’ when it comes to the possibility of using gambling accounts for money laundering purposes.
With this in mind, gambling operators licenced by the Commission have been asked by the governing body to remain on high alert as the number of crypto and Bitcoin scams are expected to rise in the coming years, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The Gambling Commission appears to be fully aware that the threat of organised crime is increasing worldwide right now, with their industry in the firing line. As such, all operators have been told to ensure that all members’ funds are properly scrutinised, although this leaves a sour taste in the mouths of all genuine players.
The extra scrutiny includes monitoring transactions to customers in higher-risk territories, such as the Caymans, Barbados, Senegal, and Cambodia.
As well as the countries named above, Pakistan has been added to the list of high-risk territories by the British government. This is because these countries hold an increased threat of being used for money launderers, the funds often being traced back to British-held betting accounts.
Money Laundering and the Knock-On Effect to Normal Customers
While taken on its own merit, the extra scrutiny regarding possible money laundering is important and necessary; it’s equally prevalent that the general public should get to see the figures.
With the government looking to increase extra scrutiny in terms of income checks and gambling loss limits on all punters in its latest gambling act review, it seems awfully coincidental that they are needed suddenly to fight crime.
The worry is that the government, via the Gambling Commission, will use the supposed threat of money laundering and terrorism finance to get such checks through law for all of us via the back door, a move which has angered many regular punters.