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Swedish police warn gambling under “highest threat” from money laundering

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Swedish police has warned that gambling is at its “highest threat level” of money laundering in the country’s National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing report.
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The report, which was compiled from findings by Sweden’s Coordination Function Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing group, organised by the police authority, said gambling businesses are often unknowingly “at risk” of money laundering exploitation.

Gambling at state-owned casinos and online gambling were highlighted as areas where the risk was especially high.

Although Sweden’s Gaming Act prohibits transfers between gaming accounts, the report warned that money can be transferred in other ways – for example, deliberate poker losses.

The group also found evidence to suggest that gambling accounts are being used for terrorist financing.

To counter money laundering, the report called for a change in the country’s Gambling Act on account and safe deposit box systems to include gambling companies. Currently, authorities have the power to quickly identify those who hold bank accounts and safe deposit boxes when money laundering is suspected, but cannot do this for gambling accounts.

The report also recommends periodic reporting from operators to the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate in order to curb money laundering potential and increase supervision.

In March, a report from Sweden’s Financial Police revealed that 700 incidents of money laundering were flagged in 2020.

Last week Sweden’s National Operations Department arrested five people in a match-fixing bust in Stockholm.

This month the Swedish government proposed an extension on the country’s novel coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions for its gambling industry, including a SEK5,000 (£423/€492/$590) monthly deposit limit for online casino games.

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