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Gaming Board: Web shops free from money laundering threat

The Gaming Board of The Bahamas has determined that gaming houses are free from the threat of money laundering or terrorist financing, finding that most gaming house players have an average account balance of $5.00 and an average transaction amount of $60.00.

This information was released in the Group of Financial Services Regulators’ (GFSR) Bahamas 2018 AML/CFT Report, published on the website of the Central Bank of The Bahamas.

The report reveals that there have been ongoing concerns about the possible use of gaming houses for money laundering and terrorist financing. “At the outset, it is important to note that gaming houses cannot be used to facilitate international transfers,” the Gaming Board states in the report.

“There are no funds flowing from outside The Bahamas into patron accounts, neither are there any funds flowing from patron accounts outside The Bahamas.

“As earlier indicated, prior to regularization it was feared that the then unregulated ‘web shops’ were conduits for money laundering and terrorist financing. Despite the promulgation of the new legislation and the strides that have been made over the past three and a half years to enforce the same, discussions in both domestic and international circles still focus on those previous fears.”

The Gaming Board revealed it conducted a study that focused on examining the financial data of the gaming houses over a one-month period, “in order to determine the range of patron account balances and the volume of transactions that flow through the said patron accounts”. The Gaming Board found that these transactions were negligible and therefore “far too small to support any pattern of substantial money laundering”.

Despite the findings the Gaming Board continues to conduct risk assessments of gaming house operators.

“By virtue of the risk assessment, the board gathered information relative to operators’ organizational structure, patron base, patron onboarding and monitoring procedures, suspicious transaction reporting procedures and the gaming services offered,” the GFSR document notes.

“The information collected is being utilized to assist the board in assessing the size, growth, operations, products, services as well as any attendant money laundering or terrorist financing risk in the domestic gaming services industry. Additionally, such information is further positioning the board to adequately advise gaming houses on the inclusion of appropriate measures within their internal control procedures for the purposes of preventing and forestalling money laundering or terrorist financing threats.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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