Online gaming is booming throughout Africa. Today, major iGaming companies view Africa as a viable and growing market. Countries like South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya are desirable investment targets due to their robust economies, young populations, and widespread interest in online sports betting. Stable employment rates, quickly rising low-cost mobile internet connectivity, and governments willing to regulate online gambling all contribute to the sector’s growth.
However, there is concern that the expansion of iGaming could lead to money laundering. Because online casinos guarantee their customers’ anonymity, there are opportunities for criminals to turn money of questionable origin into winnings. Giaba, the Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, has released research highlighting the hazards of money laundering and other types of illegal funding in the gaming industry. Several problems were found, and solutions were proposed.
Identifying The Problem
The investigation of casinos and other types of gambling was concentrated on the six Giaba Member States. Nigeria, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, and Senegal are included in this group. The report mentions that the research contained information unique to each country. The intention is to “lay the groundwork for the team’s findings,” which are mostly based on remarks made by casino owners and local authorities. Over 50 hours were invested doing virtual interviews with “authorities and casinos in the area.”
Major legal shortcomings were observed, particularly in terms of licensing and control of online casinos operating inside the area. For anti-money-laundering issues, the audit found a lack of national collaboration in licensing, regulating, and managing casino operations.
The potential for money laundering is increased whenever there is a transfer of money between financial institutions and casinos, as well as whenever there is a transfer of payments between casino accounts that are maintained in various locations. Gambling establishments can provide an additional layer of anonymity for illegal transactions, and the value tokens used in casinos, such as chips and slot machine credits, are frequently put to use in money laundering by facilitating the transformation of illegal funds from one form to another.
Financial crimes, such as money laundering and terrorist funding, have far-reaching effects on the economy, society, and companies like gaming establishments.
The Solution is Cooperation and AI
The regulation of gambling across the African continent can be seen as an effort to get better control of the African iGaming market and overcome its issues with money laundering and financial risk. This can only be accomplished through collaborations between governments and local companies. Congo Brazzaville is one of the countries that recently regulated gambling within its borders. Paridirect was one of the first to be granted with a gambling license for their sports betting, casino and lottery products. Within less than two years, Paridirect, is now one of the largest iGaming companies in pan-Africa. Paridirect provides its customers with sports betting services, slots and games of chance.
Given the importance of knowing one’s customer base. When a new client signs up for a casino’s services, it is important to perform thorough checks. Casino operators must collect and verify information such as identity documents, the origins of a player’s funds when they make a deposit, and also keep track if any changes in the player’s behavior when wagering. This is where advanced systems and proprietary technology will kick in to help perform Know Your Customer, Anti-Money-Laundering, and age verification procedures. The use of machine learning to reduce fraud and increase revenue has proven to be very effective.
As with any expanding economy and prosperous business, there will be people who want to profit from it through unethical means. In order to maintain the industry’s growing trend without harming its economy, Africa and its iGaming companies will need to protect themselves against these individuals. The collaboration of government financial institutions, casino service providers, and solution suppliers with international experience in the sector appears to be the most effective method to do this.
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