LOUIS Jan 16 U.S. 1yields one of the busiest sports book weekends of the year.
The FinCEN letter was addressed to the president of theAmerican Gaming Association (AGA), the trade group for the U.S.casino industry. Freeman said the risk of money laundering “is far greater inthe vast, unregulated, illegal sports betting market than in thehighly regulated, legal gaming industry.
FinCEN noted that prior to the news of its planned guidance,it had been “planning on communicating to the casino industrydirectly with respect to a particular concern in this regard.”
Regulators and law enforcement authorities are concerned byintelligence suggesting that criminals are making bets withlegal sports book operations, using intermediaries, or”runners,” to place bets, the Treasury bureau said.
“In these cases, the intermediaries rarely voluntarilydisclose to the casino that a transaction is being conducted onbehalf of a third party, thereby disguising the third party’srole in the transaction and obscuring the source of funds usedto place the bet. (Reporting by Brett Wolf of the Compliance Compelete service ofThomson Reuters Accelus, Editing by Randall Mikkelsen and DavidGregorio)
The global International Centre for Sport Security reportedlast year that 80 percent of global sport betting is illegallytransacted, and therefore invisible to authorities. 22 Thomson Reuters article, which said the departmentwas likely to press casinos to take a greater role in fightingillegal sport book activity.
The letter reminds casinos that the Bank Secrecy Actrequires them to ask gamblers whether their bets are forthemselves, and to report any wagers for third parties assuspicious activity. The letter also reminds casinos that theymust take a risk-based approach to compliance, focusing ongaming that presents the greatest money laundering threat.
“While casinos routinely look for suspicious bets at sportsbooks and have worked with law enforcement to identify illegalactivity, in some cases leading to criminal convictions, no suchoversight exists for the illegal sports betting market,” hesaid. 24.
ST. This poses distinct money laundering risks forcasinos,” FinCEN said in the letter.
“Increases in sports betting conducted on behalf of thirdparties are facilitating criminal activity and posing a moneylaundering risk to the U.S financial system,” the Treasury saidin a letter made public on Friday. The reporturged governments to correct what it called a vulnerability ofsport betting to organized crime.
In a statement responding to FinCEN’s letter on Friday, AGAPresident and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Freeman said thegroup “welcomes continued guidance from FinCEN.” He added that”members are committed to robust anti-money laundering measures”and that they “invest significant resources to tailor risk-basedcompliance programs for every corner of the casino, includingsports books.”
Sports gambling is legal in only four U.S. It said $140billion is laundered annually through sport betting. The letter was dated Dec. National Football League’s Super Bowl on Feb. states includingNevada, home of Las Vegas. However, illegal sports bettingoperations around the world, including online outfits, sometimesoffset bets they receive by placing casino wagers, lawenforcement sources told Thomson Reuters.
Runners have been known to loiter at casinos, keepingnumerous mobile phones and tablets near them to receive ordersfrom illegal gambling rings.
The U.S. casinos must take stepsto combat illegal sports gambling, the Treasury Department hastold an industry group in a letter that came just weeks beforethe Super Bowl, one of the biggest betting events of the year.
The letter with guidance for casinos from Treasury’sFinancial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) came in responseto a Dec. The AGA, citing the Thomson Reuters article,had asked FinCEN about its plans to issue guidance.
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