AGA boss defends legal operators’ AML efforts in WSJ letter

American Gaming Association (AGA) CEO Bill Miller has responded to suggestions that online gambling may lead to a rise in money laundering.

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In a letter published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Miller defended legal operators’ anti-money laundering (AML) efforts while criticising their illegal, offshore counterparts.

This came in response to an earlier WSJ article entitled “Online Betting Spurs Laundering Risk,” which suggested that a rise in online gambling may lead to a commensurate increase in money laundering.

The article’s author, Richard Vanderford, wrote: “Traditional casino gambling has long been acknowledged as a risk for money laundering […] Online gambling presents similar issues, but with fewer watchful eyes.”

He goes onto argue that, when compared to the UK and other jursidictions, the US has not experienced a “major enforcement push.”

However, Miller rejected this suggestion, and said Vanderford’s article “grossly mischaracterises the American gaming industry’s substantial anti-money laundering efforts.”

“AML commitments have grown along with the industry, and include programmes to monitor for financial anomalies, rigorous background investigations to obtain and retain a gaming licence, highly trained compliance professionals and millions of dollars spent on technology that enhances Know Your Customer efforts,” wrote Miller.

He said Vanderford’s article conflated legal operators and “those who skirt the law,” for whom he reserved considerable disdain.

“They’re an open door for criminals, and there is no place for a predatory, unregulated gambling market in the US,” Miller continued.

“Legal gaming aggressively combats financial crime and helps law enforcement prosecute offenders. Every year, gaming operators aid investigations by filing tens of thousands of ‘suspicious activity reports’ with the Treasury Department.”

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