Dutch regulator sets out anti-money laundering guidelines

11 July 2019

Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has published its first official guidelines for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism in the country’s gambling market.

Although the KSA’s guidelines are not classed as being legally binding or part of regulations in the country, the regulator said the measures are being put in place to protect both licensees and players from certain threats.

The new guidelines only currently apply to land-based venues operated by Dutch gambling monopoly Holland Casino, but will also be extended to online gambling operators when new laws come into force permitting such activities, but there are certain exemptions in place for slot machine, sports betting and lottery providers.

They state that an operator should have in place an anti-money laundering policy, with the KSA recommending that its licensees take a risk-based approach when drawing up this strategy. These policies should be updated on a regular basis to ensure they are in line with current regulations and technologies.

Among the other measures is a requirement for licensees to conduct identity verification checks on all players. The KSA said that this would help to control the players’ transactions and allow the operator to take action if they feel a customer shows signs of being at risk player of suffering from gambling harms.

The operator should carry out verifications before it processes any transactions with the customer, and after, if a player wishes to either spend or withdraw a least €2,000 (£1,797/$2,253), if there is suspicion of money laundering, if there are doubts of accuracy in a player’s identity, if an individual is a politically exposed person, or if they have been involved with money laundering in the past.

In some cases, the KSA said it may be necessary for an operator to carry out a stricter client investigation, such as if a business relationship or transaction entails a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, or in the case of complex and unusually large transactions.

Operators would be required to terminate their relationship with a customer if the identification and verification of the client is not possible, or obligations of the client due diligence cannot be met.

In relation to this, operators are required to report any unusual transactions to the KSA, such as if a customer is to exchange €10,000 for gambling chips at a licensed casino or if they process a cashless payment transaction of € 15,000 or more. These should be flagged with FIU-the Netherlands, which oversees the regulation of money laundering and terrorist financing in the country.

Any data collected from customers as part of the verification process, as well as the transactions flagged as part of the monitoring process, can be retained for up to five years to support anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism efforts.

The KSA recommends that all operators conduct relevant training to ensure that their staff are brought up to speed with the new guidelines and to help them to identify any issues covered by the guide.

In February, the Dutch Senate passed the Netherlands’ Remote Gambling Act, opening the door to regulated online gambling and potentially further market growth.

Subject to approval from the Ministry of Justice and Security, the law will come into force from July 1, 2020, after which the KSA will draw up licence conditions, with the hope of launching the market on January 1, 2021.