DH | Regional forum on regulation and anti-money laundering

The Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce (CFATF) MER titled, “Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism – Curaçao”, dated 2012-06-25, provides an indication of the opaque nature of online gambling regulation in Curaçao.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a global organisation established to ensure that financial systems have adequate Anti-Money Laundering, and to Counter the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).

All countries in the world, with the exception of the Islamic Republic of Iran and North Korea, have thus far committed to comply with the recommendations and standards established by the FATF.

The state of each country’s compliance with the FATF recommendations is assessed by means of a Mutual Evaluation (ME) and the status of each jurisdiction’s compliance is reported in a Mutual Evaluation Report (MER).

The third Round of Mutual Evaluations were to establish if countries had suitably robust laws and regulatory structures to achieving the recommendations previously set out.

The Dutch Caribbean jurisdictions did not fare well with regard to their AML/CFT preparedness and many industry sectors – such as Casinos, Law Firms, Real Estate Agents, Car Dealers, Accounting Firms and other Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) will be coming under particular scrutiny when the fourth Round of Mutual Evaluations take place in 2021.

Curaçao

The Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce (CFATF) MER titled, “Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism – Curaçao”, dated 2012-06-25, provides an indication of the opaque nature of online gambling regulation in Curaçao.

The MER states at paragraph 1045 (in part), “… Casinos – land based casinos supervised by the GCB [Gaming Control Board Curaçao – ed], while Internet casinos, lotteries and other games of chance are the responsibility of the Ministry of xx” – literally “the Ministry of xx” as the CFATF could not establish the entity responsible for the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism of Online Casinos!

This opaque regulatory environment has allowed internet gambling operators to thrive, projecting an illusion of regulation, when in practice no adequate regulation and AML/CFT supervision has been implemented.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten also has its problems in the gambling sector. The CFATF MER titled, “Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism – Sint Maarten”, dated 2013-01-08 makes for troubling reading.

This MER states, at paragraph 27, “There is no comprehensive regulatory and supervisory AML/CFT regime in Sint Maarten for casinos; however, the Examiners were advised that within the Government, there has been discussion regarding the creation of a Gaming Control Board.

“There are no AML/CFT requirements for internet casinos. It is to be noted that threshold for casinos do not comply with the threshold set by FATF.”

Both Curaçao and St. Maarten have the fourth Round Mutual Evaluations scheduled for 2021 and 2024 respectively, and this round of Mutual Evaluations will assess AML/CFT recommendation compliance and regulatory effectiveness of a raft of industries including gambling.

Countries failing the fourth Round Evaluation run the very real risk of being placed on a watch-list, a grey-list or worse. Such a listing in turn can have catastrophic effects on the economy, making foreign investment more expensive or deterring investors altogether.

In response, Curaçao has moved internet casino regulation under the purview of the Gaming Control Board, where it is expected the regulator will shine a light into places that have not so far been subjected to any substantive regulation or AML/CFT oversight.

The Sint Maarten Ministry of Tourism, responsible for the casino sector, has engaged UK firm GovRisk to organise and host the fourth Dutch Caribbean AML & Gaming Regulation Forum to be held from June 4 to 7 in Sint Maarten at the Sonesta Maho Resort.

This four-day regional forum is for Government, Regulators, Gaming Operators, Compliance Professionals, Banks, Law Firms, Auditors, Accountants & other Designated Non-Financial Businesses & Professions (DNFBPs) such as Car Dealers, Real Estate Agents, Remittance Agents and Precious Metal Traders.

Presenters will include experts from across the Caribbean, the USA, the UK and Australia such as Cheryl Bazzard (The Bahamas), Keith Whyte (USA), Tony Clark (Australia) and Alan Pedley (Australia).

Alan Pedley, an AML/CFT expert, is the Managing Partner of Gaming Associates (Australia) and has been a senior GovRisk Faculty member since 2013.

Pedley has provided expert consulting services to several regulatory and supervisory authorities in CFATF jurisdictions in preparation for 3rd and 4th Round Mutual Evaluations. This has included AML/CFT Training, Risk Management & Risk Reduction Strategies.

Since 2007, Pedley has provided training to several financial intelligence units (FIUs) and assisted with AML/CFT National Risk Assessments (NRA), while specialising in devising and implementing gambling regulatory models and efficient (low cost) but effective (compliant) AML/CFT programmes for the gambling industry.

These programmes have greatly assisted in jurisdictional compliance with FATF Mutual Evaluations. Pedley is also approved by AUSTRAC (Australia’s Financial Intelligence Unit) as an external auditor for AML/CFT programmes, and has developed DNFBP AML/CFT minimum control systems requirements for multiple jurisdictions.

To register for the forum, go to www.govrisk.org/DCGRF2019 or email [email protected]

Bron: The Daily Herald

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