Romanian Gaming Regulator (ONJN) issues money-laundering prevention instructions for Gambling companies that are required to develop their own policies and rules for identifying and managing the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, both in terms of customers, activities performed, and types of transactions.
ONJN Order no. 370/2021, published in the Official Gazette on January 7th, stipulates the instructions to prevent money laundering for companies that offer gambling services, regardless of whether they are Romanian legal entities, local branches of foreign companies, or foreign legal entities that provide such services in Romania, based on a license issued by ONJN.
The obligations of gambling providers are to develop internal policies and rules to prevent money laundering in accordance with a number of risk indicators. The ONJN order details each type of risk according to its category, of which we mention the following categories:
This refers, among other things, to the complicity of employees, the anonymity of customers, who can thus place significant sums from criminal activities, especially in the case of automatic betting terminals, the absence of customer knowledge policies, participation in gambling through intermediaries.
Casinos, poker clubs, poker festivals
The main risks associated with this category of games are: carrying out usury activities on the premises, hiding the identity of the real beneficiaries, the presence of “High roller” customers who fragment the amounts at stake in low stakes to avoid becoming suspicious, loss of considerable sums in favor of certain players or a certain person, when the games are not “against the house”, the provision of foreign exchange and other financial services, players residing abroad, especially those outside the European Union / European Economic Area or which are included in the list of high-risk or heavily monitored jurisdictions of the International Financial Action Task Force.
Risks include employee complicity, use of self-service betting terminals, jackpot prizes/cash bonuses, fictitious.
The exploitation of games such as casino, betting, slot-machine, poker, or bingo by criminal groups, the lack of physical presence of players, the use by players of false or stolen identity documents, payment by e-wallet, remote gambling used as a screen for cash deposits, then transferred to bank accounts, originating the apparent winnings at the game.
The obligation to carry out an independent audit to find out the concrete ways of applying the policies and mechanisms to prevent money laundering, according to the duties of the reporting entities provided by Law 219/2019, rests with the luck providers, at least every two years, if at least two of the following criteria are met:
- total assets of 16 million lei;
- a net turnover of 32 million lei;
- an average number of employees of 50.
According to the obligations of reporting entities, providers must designate one or more persons responsible for preventing money laundering. With regard to other employees, gambling providers must communicate to them the mechanisms and procedures for preventing money laundering, both on employment and periodically, at least annually, during the term of the employment contract.
Report Suspicious Transactions to ONPCSB
Gambling providers must submit a suspicious transaction report to the National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering (ONPCSB) if:
- identifies suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing;
- suspects that the funds used by the clients come from crimes, the client is not the real beneficiary of the transaction or cannot be identified, the information held about the client is relevant according to Law 129/2019;
- considers suspicious of any business relationship or occasional transaction with a person under the control of the ONPCSB;
- transactions exceeding at least 10,000 euros are performed, in a single transaction or fragmented during the same day (within 3 days from the moment of the transactions).
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