Casino Money Laundering
Absent in Online Gambling Activities
by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer
July 11, 2009
One of the major concerns of anti-online gambling
proponents is that internet betting is an activity that
fosters money laundering. A valid concern on paper, to
say the least, money laundering certainly has been
linked to several land-based casino and sports betting
operations. The early days of Las Vegas alone were a
breeding ground for casino money laundering. Since that
time, the gambling industry has come a long way in
setting up laws and preventive measures to keep money
laundering out of betting activities. More often than
not, the money laundering that takes place these days
starts off in quasi regulated offshore gambling havens
like Costa Rica.
But what about the online gambling industry? Are
online casinos engaging in money laundering activities?
Well, according to the Remote Gaming Association (RGA),
they're not. Issuing a new report undertaken with the
help of MHA Consulting, the RGA says there have been no
case-study examples of gambling money laundering taking
place within online licensing jurisdictions.
Objectively speaking, it should be no surprise to
hear this information coming from the RGA, which is a
trade body for a number of premiere software developers
and online casinos. If there was documented
casino money laundering in online gambling, I don't
think you would hear the RGA broadcasting that
information for all to hear. And if they did, you can
bet it would be "massaged" as much as possible to give
online gambling the benefit of the doubt, if you will.
However, the fact of the matter is that no massaging
was needed for this report. MHA Consulting concluded
that both statutory and self-regulation have been
effective at reducing the number of documented gambling
money laundering incidents in jurisdictions that license
online casinos. Specifically, key findings noted an
absence of terrorist financing, fueled by a "strong
commitment" within the internet betting industry to
prevent and detect money laundering and complying with
Furthermore, the report concluded that online
gambling is not especially susceptible to money
laundering activities. Besides the lack of documented
cases, this was attributed to the actual nature of
online gambling itself. Since all identities of online
bettors are known, transactions are electronically
processed, and all wagering activities are tracked and
recorded, online gambling lends itself to transparency
and conducting comprehensive audits.
Not surprisingly, all of the information used in the
report was compiled by reviewing European licensing
jurisdictions, which provide more regulation of online
gambling than anywhere else in the world. Statistics
were also collected from the European Money Laundering
Directives and Financial Action Task Force.
In the end, both the RGA and MHA concede that the
online gambling industry will need to remain vigilant in
the area of money laundering prevention and detection.
Casino operators are encouraged to work with licensing
jurisdictions and to stay abreast with new technological
innovations and tactics being employed by money
launderers. As a relatively new industry with equally
new regulatory framework, operators must continue
working collectively and individually to keep criminal
activities out of internet betting. So far, so good.
Chalk another one up for the "pros of online gambling".