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Tougher rules for bookmakers under new money laundering rules

New rules targeting money laundering were announced today by the government.

Image: Shutterstock/vectorfusionart

BOOKMAKERS AND ONLINE gambling providers are set to take on more responsibility for deterring money laundering, under new legislation announced by Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan today.

The new laws, which will introduce a number of measures designed to target money laundering and the financing of terrorism, will see some bookmakers and gambling providers forced to implement due diligence requirements and take responsibility for suspicious transactions in the same way as banks and other financial institutions.

The new rules will only apply where the money paid to the customer or paid by the customer is more than €2,000. There are also several exceptions for low-risk areas including lotteries, bingo, amusement machines and land-based poker.

 Announcing the new rules, which are part of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018, Flanagan said: “This legislation is really important. Money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process.”

“Criminals seek to exploit the EU’s open borders and this EU-wide measure is really important for that reason,” he added. 

Under the act, the Gardaí’s Financial Intelligence Unit will have a wider remit to uncover suspicious transactions and will better be able to co-operate with other forces around the world. 

The new laws will also re-define who a “politically exposed person” is. Under current legislation, a “politically exposed person” is someone who holds political, judicial or other offices in another country. This new legislation means “politically exposed persons” now includes those who live in Ireland. 

A wider array of businesses will also have to meet the government’s anti-money laundering regulations, as the definition of which businesses are treated as “high-value goods dealers” is expanded to include any business that deals in goods or accepts cash payments of €10,000, as opposed to the previous figure of €15,000.

The new laws bring Ireland in line with the latest EU rules regarding money laundering. 

Flanagan aims to bring another bill before the cabinet before Christmas that will update the criminal justice system’s approach to money laundering.

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