TaxPersonal TaxNAO report links money-launderers to gambling

NAO report links money-launderers to gambling

Fears that traditional bookmakers and e-gambling may be exploited by money-launderers have been raised in a National Audit Office report on gambling taxation.

Link: Tsunami hits anti money laundering event

Only casinos are required to put in place procedures to identify their customers.

The NAO report said the Treasury is ‘keeping under review’ the need to crackdown on bookmakers and other forms of betting not covered by money laundering regulations.

The National Criminal Intelligence Service believes the money launderer makes frequent high-stake bets at very low odds, resulting in a minimal profit or, more usually, an overall loss. However, all winnings are effectively ‘clean’, since they are received in the form of cheques, payable either to the individual or to third parties.

Betting exchanges also provide an opportunity to launder money. The customer can set up two accounts, bet against him or herself and receive a bona fide cheque from the betting exchange provider for the payout of the winnings.

Steps were recommended by the Commons and Lords Joint Committee Report on the Draft Gambling Bill, which said professional betters using betting exchanges should have to be registered.

The government is proposing to go further and demand that all exchange users should be identified and registered, not only the ones above a certain threshold.

The Gambling Commission being set up under new gambling legislation will be given powers to access these records if required.

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