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The European Parliament approved the EU’s new anti-money laundering (AML) package at its plenary sitting yesterday (24 April).

The approval marks a crucial step forward in establishing a new framework within the EU to combat illicit financial activities.

The new rules now await formal adoption by the Council of the EU, expected in May, before being published in the EU’s Official Journal.

The AML package comprises several key components.

Firstly, it introduces a single rulebook regulation covering various aspects including customer due diligence, transparency of beneficial owners, and the regulation of crypto-assets.

It also incorporates the provisions of the 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which entails national regulations on supervision and the establishment of national AML authorities.

This directive also aims to enhance access to crucial and dependable information such as beneficial ownership registers.

Lastly, the package establishes the European Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), which will be tasked with the supervision of the riskiest financial entities and work collaboratively with national AML authorities to reinforce the effectiveness of AML efforts.

Harmonised reporting

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) welcomed the EP’s approval, stating that the forthcoming regulatory changes will bolster the EU’s stance against money laundering.

EGBA believes the new rules will benefit Europe’s online gambling operators by ensuring a consistent regulatory approach across EU member states.

Another important feature, under the competence of AMLA, will be the creation of a harmonised reporting format for Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs).

This will ensure that Europe’s online gambling operators encounter the same STR requirements across all EU member states, thereby setting clear and consistent expectations that will reduce administrative burdens and costs.

“The new framework will set high standards and ensure greater consistency in the application of AML rules across the EU,” EGBA director of legal and regulatory affairs Ekaterina Hartmann said.

“Online gambling operators, especially those operating in multiple countries, will benefit from a single rulebook and harmonised reporting requirements that will unravel national complexities,” she added.

Review of industry-specific AML guidelines

EGBA will review its industry-specific AML guidelines to ensure their alignment with the new EU rules.

The guidelines, developed in 2022, include practical guidance on customer and business risk assessments, customer due diligence, suspicious transaction reporting requirements, the relationship between AML and safer gambling and record-keeping requirements.

EGBA members apply the guidelines and submit annual reports to EGBA that summarise their progress in implementing its measures.

The guidelines are also open to all operators based in the EU.

In 2022, EGBA member operators submitted 16,825 STRs to national Financial Intelligence Units in the EU.

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