Friday, April 12, 2024

MGA and FIAU collaborate on review of remote gaming sector

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and the Malta Gaming Authority have successfully completed a thematic review of the remote gaming sector, with the aim of assessing gaming operators’ knowledge on matters related to anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism.

The review, which consisted of 23 compliance examinations, focused specifically on the remote gaming operators’ Money Laundering Reporting Officers, as well as on employees involved in the AML/CFT compliance function. Such employees play a pivotal role in ensuring that controls are applied effectively to mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks, while maintaining compliance with AML/CFT obligations.

The foremost objective of this exercise was to identify areas for improvement, facilitate regulatory outreach, and provide targeted education to the sector on how to enhance their practices in specific areas of concern.

Interviewees overall showcased a solid understanding of key AML/CFT principles, including the purpose of the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations, the high-level concepts of the risk-based approach, outsourcing obligations, ongoing monitoring, the timing for submitting suspicious reports, and training obligations related to AML/CFT.

The thematic review also identified areas for improvement in relation to the knowledge on the administrative measures applicable under the PMLFTR. While interviewees were able to detail the high-level concepts of the risk-based approach, there was room for improvement when it came to their awareness of the inherent and residual risks faced by their respective companies.

Gaming operators are encouraged to prioritize ongoing training to ensure that their MLROs and relevant employees remain updated on evolving AML/CFT obligations, the relevant risks and their companies’ operations, activities and controls.

The MGA and the FIAU encourage all MLROs and relevant employees to familiarize themselves with the findings and key takeaways of this review, and to take steps to incorporate any necessary enhancements.

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