The 2024 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment from the US Department of the Treasury has highlighted the vulnerability of the online gaming and sports betting sector to money laundering. The report emphasizes the unique money laundering risks presented by the anonymity provided by the online gambling sector, noting that not all operators are aware of their obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
The fast growth of the online gambling market, combined with disparities between jurisdictions, makes enforcing anti-money laundering (AML) requirements a challenging task. As a result, the US online betting market is exposed to “significant and increasing money laundering risks.” Illegal gambling operators, particularly cryptocurrency-based casinos, pose additional dangers to the sector.
The Treasury noted that fraudsters have been depositing criminally acquired funds into online sports betting accounts and then disguising the withdrawals as winnings. The report cited a recent case in which a Georgia man laundered $1 million through a betting account, money that had originally been intended for religious purposes.
The Treasury aims to raise awareness of AML risks and educate organizations about the vulnerabilities of the US business sector. The report also emphasizes other risk-heavy sectors, including dealings with Russia and North Korea. Brian E. Nelson, the department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, stressed the Treasury’s commitment to protecting the US economy from fraud.
Nelson urged businesses in the public and private sectors to familiarize themselves with the Treasury’s full report and stay tuned for the forthcoming National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Finance. The department’s goal is to analyze the global risk environment and protect the US and international financial systems from abuse by illicit actors.