Joint consultation document between MGA and FIAU on new anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism funding rules

MEDIA ROOM

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) have released a joint publication relating to the upcoming changes to the EU-wide business policy on anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism funding requirements that shall in turn be imposed by the MGA on the license holders. These new rules shall enter into force by virtue of the transposition into Maltese law of Directive 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing more commonly referred to as the fourth anti-money laundering Directive.

The said consultation document does not cover all the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism funding obligations but it makes reference to the main obligations that the licensees are subject to. The omission to include certain obligations within the document should not be considered as tantamount to the inapplicability of the same.

Malta’s gaming regulatory body, MGA, has published certain requirements for licensed gaming companies that operate games of chance and games of skill through distance communication.  Furthermore, in the published document, the MGA and the FIAU explained in detail the obligations of gambling companies that operate under a license issued by Malta’s gaming regulatory body with regards anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism. Additionally, besides from the obligations that a gaming company would have to abide with, the document shall also provide the licensees with guidelines on how one needs to operate in pursuant to the new obligations.

As stated earlier on, in their document, MGA and FIAU refer to the most significant obligations of gaming companies. Precisely, the document refers to the risk based approach which requires subject persons to adopt measures, policies or any procedure that are correspondent to the money laundering and funding terrorism risks to which they are exposed to prevent the said risks from materialising.  The cornerstone of such approach is the risk assessment through which a subject person shall identify any risks it is exposed to.  Additionally, a good customer risk profile shall aid the subject person to apply an effective level of customer due diligence that shall be equivalent to the identified risks.

Furthermore, a subject person is required to have internal and external procedures with respect to the reporting of suspected or known cases of money laundering and/or funding of terrorism. An internal report should also cater for the possibility to report a suspicion to the Money Laundering Reporting Officer who would then determine if the information at hand is considered as sufficient for a Suspicious Transaction Report to be made to the FIAU. 

The main objective behind the publication is to prevent any money laundering or terrorism financing activities from taking advantage of Malta’s financial system. Thus, the new regulatory additions shall assist in fighting any illegal practices. 

The MGA encouraged its licensees to read the consultation document in conjunction with the fourth anti-money laundering Directive as well as the first part of the current Implementing Procedures. Moreover, the MGA indicated that there could be some changes in the future to the Implementing Procedures; however, these changes shall not to a certain extent change the content thereof.  

The next stage is consultation between MGA and FIAU and the remote gaming sector. Upon the conclusion of the latter consultation, detailed guidance document shall be published. One may state that, the joint publication between the MGA and the FIAU shall serve as a foundation for this guidance document.  The purpose of the consultation document is to simply provide a general explanation of the main anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism funding obligations of subject persons.

This joint effort reflects the commitment of the two institutions to support, assist and bring the gaming industry in line with the policies and obligations being set out at European and international level.