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Island Luck Sees 90% Money Transfer Drop

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

ISLAND Luck yesterday said it has seen a 90 per cent reduction in money transmission activity across its system, as it bids to position itself in the "vanguard" on 'Know your Customer' (KYC) requirements.

Neil Major, Island Luck's chief compliance officer, said the web shop was confident that all new accounts are "100 per cent compliant" with the company's internal policies and procedures, as well as "all legislative requirements".

"On November 1, Island Luck took the initiative to put in place corrective measures to address the issue of customer deposits and withdrawals without gaming activity," he said.

"Following the implementation of those corrective measures we have seen a 90 per cent reduction in deposits and withdrawals without gaming activity, i.e. money transfers. We intend to implement more aggressive measures to mitigate the remaining 10 per cent within the next few weeks."

Island Luck last November announced that it would close all customer accounts being used for non-gaming purposes such as money transfers, after the Government expressed concern that this could result in the Bahamas being 'blacklisted' again for anti-money laundering (AML) deficiencies.

Mr Major said yesterday: "With respect to the on-boarding of our customers, Island Luck acknowledges the importance of observing the laws as it relates to KYC and AML. Hence, we have taken the initiative to adopt the best practices of established financial institutions, exceeding the requirements of the current gaming regulations.

"Our robust KYC programme not only comprises of comprehensive identity and address verification, but a legal declaration on the part of the patron attesting to being in compliance with regulatory requirements to engage in gaming activity. "As with the commercial banks and all other financial institutions in the Bahamas, our processes with regards to customer on-boarding and monitoring is governed by the Financial Transaction Reporting Act and regulations. We are confident that all new accounts are 100 per cent compliant with our internal policies and procedures, as well as all legislative requirements."

Mr Major said Island Luck's KYC regime requires customers to produce a valid government-issued identification document; ensures no patron has multiple accounts; and requires a valid and recent address verification document.

"Island Luck has been making strides to establish itself as the industry vanguard," said Mr Major. "We've partnered with the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services to spearhead an introductory certificate course in Anti-Money Laundering and Compliance Systems. The course was offered in May 2017, and successfully completed by members of the compliance department.

"Those members have since completed the Intermediate Anti-Money Laundering and Compliance Systems course offered by BIFS. Currently, the compliance department, inclusive of the activation department, is comprised of 10 individuals. Various members of the compliance department comprehensively hold Bachelor Degrees in Business Administration, Computer Science and Certified Anti-Money Laundering."

Comments

John 4 months ago

First of all there should never have been a problem with people sending money from one part of the Bahamas to another part. With the absence of banks on some islands and in some settlements on some Islands, Island Luck and other web shops were providing an essential service. Secondly rather than stop the transfer of money completely restrictions could have been put in place like a maximum of $200 per transfer and a limit on the number of transfers. And third the countries that are crying the loudest about anti-money laundering and other concerns have the largest portion of the off shore banking market. Providing banking services to foreigners and non residents of their countries.. Growing tho economies while stifling the Bahamian economy and denying the citizens essential services.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 4 weeks ago

There you go again singing for your supper. You obviously believe having vital financial services provided by criminal thugs is a good thing which can mean only one thing: The livelihood of you and/or one or more of your close family members is very much dependent on pay cheques from one of the racketeering numbers' bosses.

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John 3 months, 4 weeks ago

so if you know all that, why you trying to take bread out my mouth? The white man gat gambling an hookers on Paradise Island, The Chinese in Cable Beach, the Indians in Florida, so wat wrong wit some lil black Bahamians getting some of the action....why you wann exclude them?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 4 weeks ago

You're hopelessly lost in life because you truly believe that you and/or members of your family are entitled to get "some of the action", i.e. some of the proceeds from the racketeering criminal activities of the numbers' thugs like Bastian and Flowers. And by the way, my family's ancestry is Nigerian which likely means I'm a few shades darker than you....but that of course would only be of interest to a racist idiot like yourself! I sense you would pimp your own daughter to put a dollar in your pocket!! Get yourself some serious mental help....you're in desperate need of it.

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TheMadHatter 4 months ago

Couldnt they just put like a $200 a month per person limit on transfers?

But, perhaps it's better to make the entire society suffer to prevent the actions of a few money launderers. Yeah. Sure.

Funny too, how there has NEVER been the arrest of one single money launderer in the last ten years. Do they even exist? Maybe we could make some laws where we have to do some other foolishness to protect against unicorns?

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John 4 months ago

I guess you didn’t get it! The same countries accusing The Bahamas of money laundering amongst other things are the same ones who now control the offshore banking market. The USA alone has23% of that market and most of the rest is shared by the G7 go figure

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Aegeaon 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Then again, the Bahamas keeps lying to the rest of the world to keep up money laundering, and it works foolishly. While the country keeps going backwards and into more crooked things. The US knows how bad the PLP administration was at transparency with the VAT money going missing, so this is yet another punishment for bad government practices.

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JohnDoe 4 months ago

To be clear transferring cash to another person is absolutely not money laundering. It is no different from person A giving person B cash physically, nothing has changed as cash is still held by the receiving party and it has not entered the banking system. Money laundering involves not only concealing the source of funds derived from the proceeds of crime but also integrating those funds into the banking system after the concealment. This money laundering talk with respect to these money transfers by people who know or ought to know better is the utmost of silly talk I can only suspect for political or other reasons. Just keep your eyes open on the ruling merchant class players who now will enter this market. We have already begin to see some of it. This is exactly why this economy is dysfunctional, too much self-interest influencing and subverting the public interest,

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Porcupine 4 months ago

The concern of money laundering isn't for the average person playing numbers. The reality is that the big money flows through the web shops to clean it up, by the owners of the web shops. Did we miss the point? That would answer the question of why our PMs have never touched the issue, and why there hasn't been any prosecutions. We seem to miss a lot in this country. Some obvious. Some perhaps, missed with intent. More importantly, we ignore the very real damage being done to our country by these web shops. There are more sensible ways of facilitating money transfers as the banks pull out.

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JohnDoe 4 months ago

This is absolute nonsensical conjecture. Actually how is this effectuated when these regulated entities are audited by the same external auditors that audit the commercial banks and the same Gaming Board that regulates the Casinos and are subject to the same AML/KYC legislation for all Financial Institutions in this country. Are the external auditors and the Gaming Board complicit as well? The Gaming Board has real time electronic access to the systems of these companies and can tell in 5 minutes if there are cash flows other than from customer gaming activity. Further, how do you launder money through your own "regulated" company. That would be the worst case of concealment ever and pure silly talk. Additional, please articulate a coherent theory, because it is either they are really only washing their own money and the profits are fictitious in which case if the profits are fictitious then they cannot also be sucking our economy dry. Otherwise, if the profits are from their business why then can they not do with it what they want. Or is making money only reserved for certain classes in this country.

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JohnDoe 4 months ago

Any foreigner from anywhere in the world can walk into a hotel casino and start gaming. They can fund an account through an electronic cross border transfer using the international banking system and they can receive winnings electronically through cross border transfers through the international banking system. Yet, folks like you and the so called National risk assessment folks would have us believe that the Gaming Board is credible and competent to mitigate the much higher inherent risks associated with these casinos but are not credible and competent to mitigate the much lower risk of domestic entities that can only open B$ banking accounts, require Central Bank approval for US$ transactions, can only open accounts for Domestic players, can only open accounts after a face to face meeting and can only pay customer B$ in a face to face physical transfer for winnings. Go figure!

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sheeprunner12 4 months ago

JUST CLOSE ALL OF THE NUMBERS HOUSES THIS YEAR ......... NUFF SAID!!!!!!!!!!

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OldFort2012 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Instead of thinking of creative solutions and trying to position ourselves at the vanguard of technology, we just talk bollocks on fori and write cretinous comments.

FFS, we are 400k people. Why do we need cash at all?

Simple solution: register every Bahamian individual in a national data bank. Cost: minimal. Give every individual an account with the CB. Abolish all cash.

That way I can transfer any amount of B$ to anyone else via smartphone. Give a simple terminal to all retailers. That way you can buy anything throughout the Bahamas without cash money with a simple swipe of your phone.

All problems solved. Instant costless transfer to anyone anywhere. No more VAT dodging by retailers. No more Immigration problems: as illegal Haitians could not register, they could not get paid. Who is going to work for nothing?

Whole system would cost not even a few B$million. With added bonus of being able to tell leeches like RBC to go fuck themselves when they want to charge you B$50 to transfer some money to another B$ account.

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ohdrap4 3 months, 4 weeks ago

you forgot that someone is looking out to the money transfer businesses. there are at least two jamaican bill paying and money order businesses easily avaliable.

People scream bloody murder to pay 8.60 for a managers check but will pay multiple 3 dollars here and there for several transactions.

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JohnDoe 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The vanguards of yesteryear, the old monied merchant class who controls 95% of the deposits in RBC do not want to see that happen. All they want to do is continue to hoard money in their local and offshore accounts. They are not interested in investing in this country or being innovative. When less than 1% own greater than 95% of the wealth in a country and that 1% is not re-investing, then you have an economy that looks like ours where they control all of the major industries except domestic gaming. And they mad as hell about that. They are scared to death of competition, innovation and a buy side emancipation.

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Porcupine 3 months, 4 weeks ago

When your cell phone goes down, when your B$ are worth 25 cents on the U.S. dollar, when you piss someone off who controls your bank account, when you write an editorial that the powers that be deem subversive, then you will wish you had a few dollars in your pocket and some corn in the back yard. This is the plan you push for freedom? Leading yourself to the slaughterhouse?

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John 3 months, 4 weeks ago

One of the best things Perry Christie did was legalize and license the web shops. The same people who came here and threaten to blacklist the country for offshore banking stole all our customers and are now operating under less stringent conditions than they tried to impose on us...talk about racketeering

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 4 weeks ago

You may have a point .......... But why did Perry not give Flowers and Sebas their bank licenses???????

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Aegeaon 3 months, 4 weeks ago

(Sigh). What has this country gone to? The dogs?

You know what happened when this crap was legalized? Too many families became broke and even homeless, the intelligence of our people has gotten even worse, money laundering is still laundering and extortion. The PLP made it worse for investors thanks to the Bahama/Panama Papers leak, and with these webshops, and that previous government stole money from the US and kept it to themselves or on the webshop kingpins instead of using the money properly for social development. No matter what it is, it's still our fault.

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