Bill Miller, the CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), has replied to claims that an increase in money laundering might be a result of online gaming. Miller praised legitimate operators’ anti-money laundering (AML) efforts in a letter that was published by the Wall Street Journal while condemning their illicit, overseas competitors.
This was in reaction to a previous piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Online Betting Spurs Laundering Risk,” which contended that an increase in online gambling would also result in an increase in money laundering. In his article, Richard Vanderford acknowledged the reality that brick-and-mortar casino gambling has long been associated with anti-money laundering practices.
Yet, online gambling poses equal, if not higher risks, since there are fewer monitoring and regulations put in place. Moreover, he highlighted how UK no deposit bonuses offered by casinos and other operators licensed in other jurisdictions still have more enforcement implemented than those in the US.
Millions are Spent on KYC and other AML Measures by Regulated Providers
Miller, however, disagreed and said that Vanderford’s report egregiously misconstrues the American gaming industry’s massive anti-money laundering measures.
According to Miller, AML obligations have evolved alongside the industry and now include programs to monitor for financial discrepancies along with stringent background checks to obtain and maintain a gaming license. There are also measures being taken to make sure that highly trained compliance professionals are made available in addition to stringent KYC (Know Your Customer) verification processes, for which hundreds of millions are spent.
He said that Vanderford’s piece confused legal practitioners with those who circumvent the law. Miller did not shy away from expressing his condemnation for those that disregarded the law. A rogue, uncontrolled gambling industry has no place in the US, Miller added. According to the AGA CEO, regulated gaming providers actively combat financial cybercrime and aids in the prosecution of perpetrators. By submitting tens of thousands of suspicious activity reports to the Treasury Department each year, gambling operators assist investigations.
How KYC works in Regulated Online Gaming Sites
KYC is a key part of online gaming providers’ efforts against Anti-Money Laundering. Basically, players are mandatorily required to undergo certain security verification checks to make sure they are who they say they are. Players are required to submit copies of their official identity, address, source of funds, and payment method documents as part of this initiative. These documents are then verified by the provider’s background verification team before any of the winnings are paid out to the customer. This also ensures the player is of legal gambling age and lives in a jurisdiction where online gambling is permitted.
The AGA’s New Toolkit to Take on the Illegal Gaming Market
To combat unlawful gaming, the American Gaming Association is releasing a new toolbox. Through its Stop Illegal Gambling Toolkit solution, a series of materials will be available, including data sheets, prepackaged messaging, and social media material. The tools are intended to aid in the legal sector’s ability to support and consistently convey engagement on the problem.
AGA CEO Bill Miller introduced the toolbox only a few days ago in a message he sent to other gaming industry professionals. The goal of the communications toolbox is to guarantee that the legal market “speaks with one voice” about the harm that illicit gambling does in order to encourage action in the battle to shut down illegal entities.
Illegal Offshore Gambling Operators Have Long Overstayed their Welcome
For way too long, illegal overseas gambling portals and unlicensed gambling games have gone undetected, Miller noted. He went on to explain that these criminal actors are given the opportunity to compete unjustly with licensed, regulated operations without regard for consumer safety and without contributing anything to their local communities through taxes.
According to the CEO’s statement, AGA is acting through this new tool, which debunks myths about the legitimate online gaming sector and emphasizes how offshore operators support criminality.
In order to inform consumers, the media, regulators, and politicians about the risks of the illegal market and why it must be eliminated, the AGA has created a new Stop Illegal Gambling toolbox that offers comprehensive tools for AGA members and other stakeholders in the gaming industry. Said toolkit may be accessed through the downloadable link available on its website.
The initiative coincides with Responsible Gaming Education Month when the Association and its affiliates are encouraging responsible gaming awareness, consumer education, staff training, and collaboration with partners.
AGA Sends Letter to Attorneys General Across the US
AGA and the Attorney General Alliance sent a combined letter to attorneys general around the country as part of the RGEM project, pleading with them to issue consumer advisories about the dangers of playing with illegal operators.
The letter urges state attorneys general to support AGA’s effort by publishing consumer advisories to educate their states’ residents about the dangers of gambling through unlicensed and illegal channels. According to the letter, attorneys general can utilize their authoritative voices to bring attention to this serious issue as the state’s top law enforcement officials.
The letter highlighted how raising awareness about gambling harm and the importance of encouraging responsible gaming, which no doubt requires proper channels of promotion and education. The letter wrapped up by asking attorneys general to join AGA in recognizing the resources and possibilities offered by the American Gaming Association in a coordinated effort to address responsible gaming.