The Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering watchdog Moneyval considers the operation of casinos in Cyprus as a potential risk for money laundering. And in its recent evaluation report on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures it said it considers it a risk for Cyprus Casinos to further expand activities.
It also called on the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission not to allow the operation of other casinos until there is a responsible management of risks.
As noted in the report, “the expansion of casino activities will undoubtedly increase the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing”. It then indicates that a number of further measures should be taken to mitigate risks.
“The Commission should not approve applications for additional satellite casinos until shortcomings are remedied, this measure can be considered as a form of sanctions,” it said.
In essence, Moneyval have urged casino supervisors not to allow the operation of the satellite casino in Yeroskipou, Paphos district, which was scheduled to open its doors within the coming weeks.
At the same time, Moneyval refers to services to be introduced by the casino resort, the consortium that has secured the casino’s license for 30 years.
It specifically referred to the provision of junkets services, which take up the role of travel agents, transferring players from abroad, and noted that this will attract very wealthy players.
According to the report, on-site visits to casinos were carried out by Moneyval technocrats who came across weaknesses in the compliance of money laundering guidelines.
At the same time, the report said the casino is trying to mitigate risks associated with gambling by encouraging customers to subscribe to their loyalty program, which allows the casino to carry out basic checks on the background of clients.
The report also referred to the action plan drawn up by an external consultant and which is in the final stages of completion. The plan will identify minimum measures needed to address weaknesses and will propose concrete action.
Cyprus Casinos comply with regulations
“Anti-money laundering and combatting terrorist financing (AML / CTF) practices are an integral part of operations of Cyprus Casinos,” the company also said.
At the same time, they pointed out that the Republic of Cyprus has licensed Cyprus Casinos which are the first legal and regulated ones and which fall under the jurisdiction and control of the European Union. “Cyprus Casinos operate business in the regulated area that provides a safe and compliant environment for its business and its clients,” the company said.
Cyprus Casinos also welcome a strong and compliant regulatory framework.
The Moneyval evaluation was conducted in May 2019, said the company.
“The report indicates that C2 implement a number of procedures and checks against money laundering and terrorist financing.”
Cyprus Casinos then assured that they are working closely with the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission
to implement all regulations of the AML/ CFT directive, issued in November 2019.
“We are dedicated to industry-leading and best practice AML/CTF procedures in all our operations,” the company concluded.