One of the joys of writing a blog is that it’s like having an informal team of researchers, or moles even, looking out for money laundering stories for me. I adore anti-money laundering as you know, but I’m just one person and I can’t read everything on the subject, so these extra eyes are invaluable to me. And last week top mole Tess in the Isle of Man sent me a link to this story about the Irish gambling sector.
I do quite a bit of work for gambling regulators, one way or another, both bricks and clicks, so I was very surprised to read that the Irish gambling sector has no AML supervisor. Gambling businesses in Ireland – casinos, dog-tracks and betting shops, for instance – do have to get a licence, which entails a fit and proper test, but they are not covered by the local AML requirements (as defined by the Criminal Justice [Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing] Act 2010) and have no AML supervisor. Crucially – and this is the main thrust of the article that Tess spotted for us – they are under no obligation to report suspicious transactions.
Now doesn’t this seem like something of a large gap in the Irish provisions? A piece of legislation intended to address this was put out in draft form in July 2013: the Gambling Control Bill. This would create a new regulatory authority, issue licences, prohibit super-casinos (with more than fifteen tables) and much more, intended to protect the sector from criminal infiltration and its customers from gambling addiction. Sadly, the bill has not progressed an inch, and none of these proposals has been implemented.
I am a simple creature at heart, and I find this confusing. I know we’re all about the Fourth Money Laundering Directive these days, but cast your mind back to its predecessor. And Article 10 of the Third Money Laundering Directive says: “Member States shall require that all casino customers be identified and their identity verified if they purchase or exchange gambling chips with a value of €2,000 or more.” So just how has Ireland been checking that this has been done since 15 December 2007 – the implementation deadline of MLD3 – without an AML supervisor?
I suggest that casinos in Ireland are covered by AML requirements & that their supervisor in respect of AML is the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform (see sections 25(1)(g), 60(2)(e) & 2(1) of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing) Act 2010).
However my understanding is that bookmakers are not subject to AML in Ireland – or in the UK for that matter.
Thank you for your comment, David, and welcome to the blog. This would be a useful – and indeed comforting – clarification, but may I ask: do you know that this is the case, or are you inferring that it is? It would be good to know for certain. You’re right to say that casinos are covered by the AML requirements under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 – but my concern is about who is responsible for making sure that they are reaching that standard.
Best wishes from Susan
My reading of the Act is that by s60(2)(e) the “competent authority” for any “designated person” is “the minister” unless another “competent authority” for that “designated person” is set out in the Act or is “prescribed” by “the minister”.
By section 2(1) “the minister” in this Act means the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
I am not aware of the minister having prescribed another competent authority in relation to casinos.
So I think that the Irish legislation does satisfy MLD3 and that it is the minister who is responsible for supervising casinos’ compliance with their reporting obligations etc under the Act.
Whether or not that operates in practice in a satisfactory manner is a different question (about which I have no information).
And of course bookmakers are not casinos.
Thank you, David.