Keith Bristow QPM is the retired Director-General of the UK Crime Agency. He has just been appointed Chair of the Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group (GAMLG), a new body established by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) and the Remote Gambling Association.
The ABB wants to ensure that their members do not have to comply with the 4th EU Money-Laundering Directive. This is despite casinos being required to comply and despite betting shops having casino games on FOBTs. The ABB’s Chair is Paul Darling QC and the ABB’s CEO is Malcolm George. Neither of them have any experience of what is actually happening in betting shops, which enables the ABB to make the very misleading statement that betting shops are the safest places to gamble in the UK.
Betting shop crimes are often not reported to police, but the rate of police call outs to betting shops by far exceeds the rate of call outs to any other gambling premises. FOBTs are the most dangerous form of gambling. But they are not allowed in arcades, bingo halls, pubs or clubs.
Data that could identify money-laundering on FOBTs is held by the bookies and the FOBT suppliers. But there is no evidence that there has been any attempt to use this identifying data. Will Mr. Bristow force the ABB to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about FOBT gambling, or will he avoid asking the difficult questions to keep his new clients happy?