European parliament report on anti-money laundering directive

 The European Parliament committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Civil Liberties (LIBE) adopted their joint report on the European Commission proposal for a revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

EL has consistently called for the extension of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive’s scope to all forms of gambling: given the high financial flows inherent to any gambling activity, it is an area with a high vulnerability to fraud and money laundering where not regulated appropriately, or where the existing regulation is not enforced.

EL President Friedrich Stickler: “We had called unambiguously for an extension of the scope of the Directive to all forms of gambling. We today welcome the further important step taken by the European Parliament to ensure an appropriate application of the controls on the specific activity that is gambling, thereby allowing Member States to apply the Directive to its full potential”.

EL today strongly supports the specification brought by the European Parliament of the specific forms of due diligence that should apply: for forms of gambling beyond casinos and online gambling, the controls should apply on the winnings above a threshold of 2 000 EUR. This specification rightly addresses the specific risk that can lie in the potential fraud with winnings and takes into consideration European customer social habits.

EL points out that the control on winnings for certain forms of gambling is already in place in a number of Member States and has proven to be adequate. EL therefore calls on the Council to now follow the lead of the European Parliament and also provide for this efficient and adapted way of extending the Directive to all forms of gambling.

EL takes note of the fact that the European Parliament supports the possibility for Member States to exempt forms of gambling, following a risk assessment. However, EL considers that the provision as adopted in ECON and LIBE today, whereby Member States need to seek the approval from the European Commission, goes beyond the necessary and sufficient guarantees of control of national implementations already provided in the Directive and undermines the subsidiarity principle as consistently referred to in the CJEU jurisprudence on gambling. EL therefore hopes this point will be clarified further in the dialogue between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the Directive.

It is expected that the European Parliament plenary will confirm the position adopted by the LIBE and ECON committees in April in order to start discussions with the Council.