Supporters and opponents of online casinos are arguing about the possibility of using online casinos as a mean of transporting illegally acquired funds and thus turn them into legitimate. And again, the opposite points of views have about the possible problems of money laundering through the use of channels of online casinos have collided with each other. One point of view has been recently announced by the government of the United States on behalf of representatives of departments of the Department of State, the other one was defended by online gambling experts at a special meeting in Europe.
The collision of opinions
Official representatives of the Department of State claim that gambling is one of the real money-laundering channels operating in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is one of a small number of states that produces officially licensed online casinos and bookmakers. According to one of the largest gambling reviewers in Sweden – casino Apnet website, Costa Rica finds itself comfortably among the world’s 10 best regions for launching legal gambling business. At the same time it emphasizes that Costa Rica houses a number of non-regulated online gambling operators and creates the prospects for potential channels of fraudulent cash flows. This was officially stated in the report of the newspaper AM Costa Rica, which is based on a study of the problem of money laundering and related financial crimes, identified with the assistance of special units of Department of State. At the same time, representatives of this special unit of US State Department said that the efforts of the Government of Costa Rica are aimed at countering money laundering, and surely bring a tangible effect. These legislative measures are including changes in tax laws, taking measures to encourage law-abiding citizens, measures to automation and computerization of the control system in the field of online casinos.
Despite the statements made by the special division of the Department of State, and the data given in the profile report, experts from Europe strongly disagree with this opinion. The reason for the discussion was a meeting in Brussels, where Europe’s leading politicians and experts in online gambling on safety and standardization of online gambling gathered to discuss a range of heated topics. Among the main speakers was Dr. Friedrich Schneider, a professor of economics at the University of Ёhanes Kipler in Linz. A large part of his life, Dr. Schneider spent on studying issues of online gambling, as well as studying of all the other related issues. At the meeting, Dr. Schneider said:
The possibility of money laundering through Internet casino sites is negligible and is far from being highly productive. At the same time, he noted that the entire volume of cash passing through the banks engaged in financial support online gambling is not very large in comparison to other available channels.
The top manager of PokerStars in northern Europe in his speech supported the view of Dr. Schneider. Sven Steele drew attention to the fact that all financial transactions on licensed sites online casinos are made only on the basis of services provided by the officially registered banks, which in turn have clear anti-money laundering procedures. Prior to the game for real money players must verify their identities, which eliminates the possibility of money laundering.