Bookmakers to remain exempt from EU rules on money laundering
Bookmakers have received good news from the government as the Treasury announced the sector would continue to be exempt from European money laundering regulations.
High street and on-course bookmakers had feared that the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive would be extended to all gambling sectors and as a result they would have to conduct due diligence for single transactions of €2,000 (approx £1,740) or more.
There had also been the possibility member states would be asked to consider applying the threshold to the collection of winnings as well.
However, following a consultation and the UK’s National Risk Assessment (NRA) which deemed gambling to be low risk relative to other sectors, the government decided to use powers provided by the directive to exempt gambling, apart from non-remote and remote casinos, which cannot be exempted.
The Association of British Bookmakers, which had lobbied hard for the exemption, said in a statement: "The ABB believes that the Treasury has come to the right decision with regard to the risk relating to money laundering in high street betting shops.
"ABB members will continue to focus on ensuring LBOs remain low risk in relation to money laundering, both through direct action and engagement with relevant regulators and industry bodies such as GAMLG [Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group]."
The industry has, however, been warned it must maintain effective procedures to combat money laundering to avoid becoming subject to the directive.
The Gambling Commission said: "The government has made clear that it will regularly review its position in relation to the money laundering and terrorist financing risk that gambling providers present."