Jamaica’s Efforts to Combat Money Laundering Within the Gaming Industry

Earlier this month, at Jamaica’s 6th annual Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF) Conference, Cheryl Bazard, a Bahamian compliance specialist and founding president of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO), was invited to present for the third time.  The theme of this year’s conference was “Compliance: Detect-Arrest-Protect” and included nearly 200 AML/CTF compliance professionals from various backgrounds such as attorneys, auditors, financial institutions, real estate practitioners, gaming industry executives, accountants and regulators.  The conference was hosted by the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA) and the Jamaica Institute of Financial Services (JIFS).

Bazard, who is also the Bahamas’ first ICA specialist to be certified in money laundering risks in betting and gaming, educated Jamaican bankers and financial services providers on how to prevent money laundering in the gaming industry.  She emphasized that an AML compliance program is the best way to manage Patron-Related risks.

Unfortunately, the gaming industry is an easy outlet for criminals to launder money especially since the growth of online and mobile channels makes it more difficult for sector regulators to follow the “dirty money.”  Bazard added that one of the reasons why the gaming industry is an easy way for criminals to launder money is because multiple accounts can be opened on various online games in order to move money around without reports.

The former Senator advised attendees to watch out for people who stray from their typical play patterns, require multiple fund destinations, request multiple monetary instruments for payout, and structure transactions to avoid reporting requirements.   A strong AML compliance program will help protect the gaming industry against money launderers by allowing businesses and institutions to identify risks before transactions are completed.  

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