The new anti-money laundering law is about to come into effect. What should gambling operators do?

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Romanian Bookmakers comes to support the gambling companies with a practical analysis on the upcoming mandatory compliance with the new regulatory framework resulting from the transposition of Directive (EU) 2015/849 into domestic law

 

The new regulations on the prevention of money laundering or terrorist financing, which result from the transposition of Directive (EU) 2015/849, have quite significant impact on the organization and operation of the gambling activity. In this context, Romanian Bookmakers – the Gambling Organizer Employers in Romania notifies the operators of the importance of making the necessary operating adjustments in due time, even if these regulations are to come into effect as late as January 2020.

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In the light of the foregoing considerations, Romanian Bookmakers, through Casino Inside, provides the companies in this field with a very useful and practical summary of the most relevant information they would require at this time. Mention should be made that the first and foremost recommendation is that each operator should carry out their own in-depth analysis on the new regulation package, given the complexity of their application.

 

  • Law 656 / 2002, as amended following the transposition of Directive (EU) 2015/849, shall come into effect in six months’ time, in January 2020. Until then, the operators are to carry out their activity in consideration of their obligations under the current regulatory framework;

 

  • The National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering (ONPCSB) will issue this fall the draft rules for the implementation of the new AML legislation. This aspect is essential as the gambling industry, through its associations of professional representatives, is able to submit draft rules. Romanian Bookmakers is expecting the operators’ draft rules at office@romanianbookmakers.ro;

 

  • Despite having their fiscal residence in other states, the online gambling companies are to make the relevant reporting in Romania and appoint a contact to liaise with the domestic authority;

 

  • Very important: Under the new law, the National Office for Gambling (ONJN) is the controlling authority in the gambling industry and with respect to the prevention of money laundering! On the other hand, ONPCSB may carry out inspections, but is only expected to do so under exceptional circumstances, leaving ONJN to deal with the current operations of liaising with the companies in this industry. In a nutshell, the current relation between the operators and the state authority shall be conducted at the ONJN level with respect to this regulatory side, as well;

 

  • The most important aspect provided under the new law with respect to gambling organizers is their designation as reporting entities, a position which comes with a number of obligations for the implementation of the standard know-your-customer measures or the reporting to ONPCSB. These are clearly stated in the new regulation package and are already available for consultation by operators;

 

  • One of the most important new obligations is taking over the personal data of the individuals registering earnings amounting to the lei-equivalent of at least EUR 2,000 in one operation. This entails the obligation to identify with an ID any customer acquiring a prize worth more than EUR 2,000. From a practical perspective, regarding the online gambling, the mission of compliance is estimated to be rather easy. The traditional gambling firms however must either require their customers to submit a copy of their ID upon exceeding the value threshold or fit the specialized locations with devices making hard or digital copies thereof. Last but not least, employees must undergo additional training with respect to the new legal rule on anti-money laundering;

 

  • Another important aspect is the decrease in the mandatory reporting threshold by ONPCSB for the transactions with cash, lei or foreign currency. While the current floor is EUR 15,000, the new law provides for a EUR 10,000 limit;

 

  • One of the most delicate aspects is understanding the concept of suspicious transaction, specifically, when and how the operators will deem a transaction suspicious and have an obligation to report it to the relevant authority. Before defining suspicious transactions, it should be noted that they are not to be associated with the EUR 15,000 (EUR 10,000, since January 2020) limit, nor the EUR 2,000 worth of earnings relating to the application of the standard know-your-customer measures. A suspicious transaction may be one worth RON 100, if an operator, according to the situations provided under the law and their own procedures, identifies and qualifies it as such. Regarding suspicious transactions, there is a guide thereof on the ONPCSB website to be accessed for a better understanding of the situations when a transaction must be considered suspicious in terms of money laundering. Another practical suggestion made in this respect, also supported by the ONPCSB representatives, is that the relevant operators should elaborate and practice the procedures for identifying suspicious transactions by the letter of the following regulatory framework (see Article 6 of Law 656 / 2002 – as amended following the transposition of Directive (EU) 2015/849). The new law provides the circumstances when a transaction should be considered suspicious as well as the obligations deriving thereunder;

 

  • The reporting made by the companies in the anti-money laundering field can only be submitted online, upon the entry into effect of the new regulatory framework! The online submission of reports is already in place, so the companies which have submitted these reports in hard copies are advised to adopt the online method. In this sense, the operators must create an account (user and passwords) on the ONPCSB platform. The authority’s web portal states how such reports should be filled out;

 

  • In addition to the application rules, ONPCSB shall issue this fall a new law application guide available for consultation on the authority’s web portal.

In the upcoming period Romanian Bookmakers shall become actively involved in the dialogue with ONPCSB on the issuance of the application rules for the new regulatory framework so any proposal, comment or suggestion from the gambling companies may be relevant or useful. In this sense, the operators are invited to send any proposal they may have to office@romanianbookmakers.ro.

Author: Editor

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