Two weeks ago, Nigeria game operators were hosted for a one-day training session on AML compliance with officials of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). This was a remarkable step of the Association of Nigeria Bookmakers to show commitment to compliance with industry regulations by hosting the AML Seminar. This would help the operators to conduct their businesses in a responsible and legally upright manner.
Historically, gambling and betting have been associated with various kinds of vices and one of them is money laundering considering the fact this industry is very lucrative and desirable to people who want to make money the easy way. Money laundering is concealing proceeds of illegal activities and making them appear as if they have been derived from legitimate sources.
Attendees better understood their reporting obligations to NFIU and the ML/TF red flag in the gaming industry. The Association of Nigerian Bookmakers remains committed to helping members stay compliant with industry regulations in order to conduct their business in a responsible manner.said Olabimpe Akingba, Executive Secretary, Association of Nigerian Bookmakers
Money laundering in betting does occur in various forms:
- Criminals leverage low-outcome bets to deposit dirty money and withdraw it as winnings.
- Money obtained from illegal sources is used to sponsor betting as a leisure activity.
- Criminals directly invest in gambling and betting businesses across the globe.
To curb this menace, NFIU did find it well to involve all bookmakers in the country to find solutions and also to educate on situations that would qualify as money laundering. The Nigerian government has enacted laws such as the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act to combat money laundering. Failure to comply with these laws can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and seizure of assets.
Some of the recommended measures include enhanced customer diligence and monitoring and independent AML audits. Participants were in common the motive to dissociate gambling and money laundering and respect regulations and restrictions placed by the Nigerian government
African governments, financial institutions, and the Bookmaker Associations must make concerted efforts to prevent and combat money laundering to promote economic stability, integrity, and democracy in the African continent.
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