Posted on: April 22, 2022, 09:50h. 

Last updated on: April 22, 2022, 09:51h.

The European Union recently released a list of the countries it feels aren’t improving their anti-money-laundering controls. The result is that individuals from these high-risk locations are subject to increased scrutiny by gambling operators.

European UnionThe headquarters of the European Union in Belgium. The organization has released a new list of countries not working hard enough to combat money laundering. (Image: World Atlas)

Preventing money laundering in the gaming industry is an ongoing issue around the globe. It’s a topic that is a source of constant discussion, and the actions of some casino operators don’t ease the concerns.

The European Union (EU), through its European Commission (EC), regularly publishes a list of countries it feels aren’t doing enough to uphold global anti-money-laundering (AML) protocols. The EC released an updated list this month, which includes some familiar names.

EU Scrutinizes the Global Community

The EC’s list highlights countries that it feels have strategic deficiencies in their AML policies. These fall into a high-risk category subject to more scrutiny. As a result, gambling operators are expected to more closely monitor individuals from the locations when visiting gaming facilities in the EU.

The new list includes familiar names, such as Afghanistan, Barbados, Cambodia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Jamaica, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe. In addition, the EC added Burkina Faso, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, the Philippines, Senegal and South Sudan this year.

The Commission is ready to specifically explore supporting third countries to assist them in rapidly addressing the identified strategic deficiencies,” explains the EC.

Appearing on the list is the result of failing to adhere to established EU criteria. Much of this coincides with the expectations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which also has the Philippines and other countries on its grey list.

However, the two don’t always agree. The FATF, for example, has Malta on its grey list, while the EU doesn’t. Zimbabwe is on the EU’s list, but the FATF took the African nation off in March of this year.

Establishing a Risk Profile

The EU developed its latest version of its risk profile in 2020. It periodically updates the list following the completion of assessments and ongoing reviews. The next major assessment is in 2025.

In order to determine where a country falls in its AML controls, the EU analyzes a number of items. These include customer due diligence measures, how they report suspicious financial transactions, the country’s stance on money laundering and more.

The EC meets with third countries to discuss their preliminary deficiencies. It informs them about their preliminary deficiencies and offers consultations to determine the most appropriate way to address them.

If the Commission still has serious concerns after the consultation, it will propose a number of mitigation measures to resolve them. The EC takes into account the responses of the third country, and then decided on the appropriate mitigating measures.

In order to reach its conclusion on a country’s status, the EC relies on information from a number of sources. Europol, the European External Action Service, EU member states, the European Supervisory Authorities, the FATF and the International Monetary Fund are at its disposal.