Sport betting service Superbet yesterday denied the claim made by the Attorney General’s Chambers that it is operating here without a licence, while saying that it is actively considering taking legal action as a result.
“We maintain most resolutely that our client is not in breach of any Laws of Guyana including the AML/CFT [Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism] legislation and in any event SUPERBET has not been informed by any of the relevant agencies that they are in violation of any law or regulation,” the law firm of attorney Anil Nandlall said in a press statement issued on behalf of the company.
The company, which is headquartered in Suriname, is being operated by Guiana Holdings Inc, a subsidiary of its parent company, the Pasha Gaming Group. In addition to Guyana and Suriname, the company also has operations in Uganda, Cyprus and Belgium.
Superbet was officially introduced to the Guyanese public in December of 2012
On Wednesday, a press release from the Attorney General’s Chambers informed of Superbet’s illegal operation as was announced by its National Coordinating Committee. “…The committee noted that the SUPERBET gaming entity has been operating without a licence and measures should be taken to ensure they face the full force of the law,” the release said, while adding that the committee has made it a priority to ensure all reporting entities become compliant with the AML/CFT legislation.
Stabroek News reached out to Chairman of the Gaming Authority Roysdale Forde but he did not confirm nor deny what was said by the AG’s Chambers. “If the Attorney General issued that statement, let him provide the explanation…,” he said.
When pressed, Forde said that if the AG issued that statement “my position both as the Chairman of the Gaming Authority and as private citizen is that the Attorney General ought to know what he is saying, so I have nothing further to say on the matter.”
An official at Superbet’s head office directed all questions to Nandlall’s firm.
Nandlall subsequently said that a press statement was being prepared on the matter.
In making reference to a Guyana Chronicle report on the Attorney General’s Chambers statement, the statement made it clear that from the onset Superbet has always been compliant with AML/CFT legislation and has submitted “every single document” requested by the Gaming Authority.
“In fact, sometime early last year, agents of SUPERBET and an Attorney-at-law, attended a meeting with Mr. [Lloyd] Moore, CEO of Gaming Authority. During that meeting, it was explained that certain documentary evidence must be provided in order to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing. We were further instructed that in order for our licence to be renewed, the Gaming Authority must issue the Certificate of Good Standing. On the 14th September, 2018, SUPERBET submitted all documents requested by the Gaming Authority in support of its Application for Letter and Certificate of Good Standing,” the statement explained.
It added that the company was never informed by the Gaming Authority or accused of being in breach of any AML/CFT legislation. “In fact, Gaming Authority never contacted us or our client to request any further information or query any discrepancies in the Application and its supporting documents,” the firm said.
According to the statement, six months after the Application for Letter or Certificate of Good Standing was submitted, the General Manager of Superbet, Shrikant Kisoensingh, received a letter from Moore, inviting him to a meeting on February 19th, to discuss the Revised Application Process for Good Standing Certification and the Gaming Authority’s requirements in supervising the company’s responsibilities as a gaming entity under AML/CFT Act.
At this meeting, the statement said, General Manager of Superbet was informed that in the future, the Application for Certificate of Good Standing will require the submission of more supporting documents. “However, again at that meeting, we were never informed or alerted to any non-compliance with AML/CFT legislation,” the statement noted, before adding that Superbet was further informed that its Application for a Letter or Certificate of Good Standing was being processed and the processing of an Application for Certificate of Good Standing takes six to eighteen months.
In addition to submitting documents in support of the Application for Certificate of Good Standing, SUPERBET also submitted a Monthly Betting Shop Threshold Transaction Report to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and a Quarterly Terrorist Property Report to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the statement informed. It added that as a result of the newspaper article, contact was made with Moore, who “expressed shock” and “disclaimed that the Gaming Authority supplied any information in relation thereto to anyone.” According to the statement, Moore undertook to write the Board of Directors of the Gaming Authority on the matter.
After disputing the contents of the newspaper article, the statement added “our client…is currently considering our advice to institute legal proceedings for defamation in respect of the impugned publication.”