ANJ's Assessment of French Operators' AML Action Plans for 2023: Expert Insights
ANJ's Assessment of French Operators' AML Action Plans for 2023: Expert Insights reveal significant progress in compliance efforts
The French regulator, l'Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), has recently concluded its review of action plans submitted by operators regarding anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures for 2023. This assessment provides valuable insights into the compliance efforts of gaming operators in the country.
We reached out to Cathie-Rosalie Joly and Cécile Bouchard of Bird & Bird, to gain their perspective on the ANJ's findings and explore the implications for the French gambling industry. In this article, we delve into their comments on three key questions and examine the implications of the ANJ's assessment.
Overall Assessment of the ANJ's Evaluation
According to the Bird & Bird team, the ANJ's AML/CFT action plan approval decisions offer valuable insights into the state of compliance among gaming operators. The lawyers agreed that there has been significant progress since 2022, as most operators have properly implemented the ANJ's recommendations from the previous year. Out of the 20 action plans reviewed for 2023, 15 were approved without significant shortcomings. While acknowledging room for improvement, they commended the efforts made by the industry stakeholders.
Priority Areas for 2023
The ANJ has identified some priority areas for all operators for 2023, including ensuring staff compliance with AML and counter-terrorist financing procedures.
To achieve staff compliance with AML/CFT procedures, the Bird & Bird team emphasized the need for reinforced training actions and sufficient internal controls. Allocating adequate resources, particularly human resources, was considered crucial, as the lack of such resources led to the rejection of the PMU's action plan. Therefore, operators must pay attention to resource allocation to effectively implement intended measures.
Speaking of priority areas, the lawyers also highlighted the importance of meeting player return rate limitations, as non-compliance can result in warnings and financial penalties, underscoring the connection between compliance and AML/CFT obligations.
Future Trends in AML/CTF Compliance for the French Gambling Industry
Looking ahead, the Bird & Bird team pointed out two significant trends in AML/CTF compliance.
Firstly, the emergence of cryptocurrencies and digital assets in the sector, which raises important questions. While the use of cryptocurrency to fund gambling accounts is not authorized under French regulations, their increasing prevalence presents challenges related to consumer protection and money laundering risks.
The lawyers’ assessment was that the ANJ, together with relevant authorities, must adopt a forward-looking approach to address this phenomenon.
Secondly, they mentioned the ongoing discussions surrounding blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in gaming. A potential new legislative framework for games with exchangeable digital objects is being considered, requiring specific AML/CTF obligations and declarations to the ANJ.
In conclusion, the ANJ's evaluation of operators' AML action plans for 2023, along with the Bird & Bird expert insights, emphasized the industry's positive direction towards enhanced compliance, including staff diligence, resource allocation, and vigilance towards emerging trends. By prioritizing AML/CFT obligations and adapting to evolving regulations, operators play a pivotal role in fostering a safer and more trustworthy gambling environment, promoting integrity within the industry.