Online casino gaming is reaching a wider audience with every passing year as more nations and jurisdictions reform their gambling laws to allow for the new technological era. The regulations that are implemented go through the usual legal process of debate and approval and are crafted for the common good. But there’s no denying that some can seem a little frustrating at times.
A prime example that is common to practically every nation’s gambling laws is its anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. Anyone who has been lucky enough to beat the house and enjoy a win of any size can’t help but feel frustrated when the casino says they will have to wait a day or two to receive the cash while the casino complies with its AML obligations. Here, we take a look at what it is all about.
The online gambling market generates more than $60 billion in annual revenue. That equates to a handle in the region of a trillion dollars. Tens of millions of wagers are placed every day, many of which are high in value. Clearly, against this backdrop, it is easy to envisage suspicious transactions going unnoticed.
Take a look at a cross-section of reputable online casinos, such as the ones listed at onlinecasino, and you will notice they accept a range of payment methods and welcome players from around the world. It’s convenient for casino enthusiasts, but unfortunately, it also makes online casinos attractive to money launderers.
What is money laundering?
Money laundering is a three-phase process by which criminals integrate illegally obtained money into a legal system or business. Criminals might purchase prepaid cards with criminally gained funds and then use these to inject funds into a gambling account. They might then layer the money by transferring it to another player – for example, by being “unlucky” in a staged poker game. The funds are then sufficiently distanced from their source to be untraceable when they are cashed out.
How casinos fight back
Every one of those casinos listed earlier is licensed by a recognized regulatory body, and that means it has AML processes in place. A condition of their license is that they monitor transactions and report anything serious to the appropriate body.
They have different ways of doing this. One is to carry out analytics of money flow in games like poker. If there is a consistent flow of funds to one player from multiple others, it might just mean he’s a very good player. It could also be indicative of a money laundering scheme.
Casinos also embrace KYC processes to verify that people are who they say they are. This is where those annoying delays we talked about can come into play.
Back in the early 2000s, US online poker rooms grew without proper controls and were soon rife with criminal elements with their own agendas. That ended abruptly with poker’s Black Friday. The AML processes in place today sometimes seem frustrating, but so do speed limits in the built-up area when we are in a hurry. When we really think about it, however, it’s clear that any minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for the protection they bring.