Gaming authority alerting stakeholders to anti-laundering provisions

In broadening information about local Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) policies and procedures, the Gaming Authority of Guyana on Thursday hosted the first in a series of Stakeholders Fora planned for 2018.

In a press release from the Minister of State’s office yesterday, the Authority said that its Director, Christine King in her address highlighted the readiness of the Board and Directors to fulfill the mandate of the Authority as a designated non-financial business or supervisory authority to implement and enforce the requirements of the AML/CFT Act.

She emphasised the commitment of the Gaming Authority to ensuring that policies and procedures relative to AML/CFT are stringently observed and implemented by all gaming entities to bring about order and to ensure that the gaming industry in Guyana is well regulated.

Critical information related to gaming operations based on principles of best practices and harm minimization, were shared during the forum which was held at the Herdmanston Lodge under the theme “Gaming the Right Way”. Its aim was to enlighten stakeholders about the local policies and procedures, and serves as part of the Gaming Authority’s plan to ensure local AML/CFT policies and procedures are fully implemented by gaming operatives, thus contributing to a well-regulated gaming industry in Guyana.

The release added that Dawn Hastings, Junior Minister within the Ministry of the Presidency in a keynote address echoed the words of President David Granger in his address to the Opening Ceremony of the 46th Plenary Meeting of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) in November 2017 where he stated “The Caribbean, today, is fighting a war against financial ‘privateers’ to preserve the integrity of its institutions and to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Guyana is fit to fight.”

She emphasised the need for dialogue between Stakeholders and those in authority and later charged Stakeholders to work in conjunction with the Law and the Gaming Authority.

Matthew Langevine, Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) delivered a presentation on “AML/CFT Obligations for reporting entities of betting shops, lottery and casinos” in which the red flags of the gambling sector and the overall role of the FIU including ensuring Reporting Entities compliance with (the) AML/CFT Act, Sections 15, 16, 18 – 20, 2009, possible sanctions and examination process were discussed.

Marcia Harris, Manager, Tax Advisory Unit of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), in her presentation,  shared information with stakeholders on “What you need to know about your taxes” including taxable activities and tax rates; VAT registration and obligations; the compliance roadmap; betting shop licence requirements, application procedures and fees; tax on bets, filing of returns and penalties for delinquency.

According to the release, presentations were also made by Lloyd Moore, Chief Executive Officer and Towana Whinfield, Compliance Officer, Gaming Authority on Responsible Gaming and Best Practices, Role of the Gaming Authority as the supervisory body for lotteries, casinos and betting shops and minimum requirements for premises, operators licences and betting shops.

The forum was attended by Stakeholders within the Gaming Sector, including current and prospective casino operators, current and prospective betting shops operators, the Guyana Lottery Company, FIU, GRA, State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), Board Members and Staff of the Gaming Authority.

The Gaming Authority of Guyana was launched on December 1, 2008, in accordance with section 32(1) of the Gambling Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2008 and has been identified as the Supervisory Authority for betting shops, casinos and lotteries under the AML/CFT Act of 2009 and its Amendment.

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