Embracing accountability: NeoSurf CEO on upholding operator AML standards

Writing for SBC Leaders earlier this year, Andrea McGeachin, CEO of Neosurf, emphasised the essential role of payment companies in supporting operators to uphold AML measures, ensure player protection, mitigate risks, and cultivate a sustainable gambling ecosystem. 

In an increasingly interconnected world driven by digital transactions and online gaming, payment companies are crucial in facilitating secure and efficient financial services. Indeed, payment responsibility is becoming increasingly relevant to operators in the gambling industry.

Regulatory bodies are now implementing more stringent controls and imposing significant penalties – emphasising the importance of cooperation between payment companies and operators to ensure adherence to anti-money laundering (AML), responsible gaming, and social responsibility initiatives.

For example, 32Red was handed a £4.195m fine by the UK Gambling Commission for multiple AML and social responsibility failures. In one of the examples cited by the Commission, the operator had failed to identify and protect a potential problem gambler who was allowed to deposit £43,000 and lose £36,000 within seven days. 

Despite this, numerous payment companies – obligated to maintain full AML compliance and develop intelligent measures to prevent and report illicit activities – fail to collaborate and leverage their expertise to assist the operators. 

In fact, this initiative extends beyond AML; it encompasses responsible gaming and social responsibility. Nevertheless, in this domain, the involvement of payment companies is extremely limited, if not completely absent. 

At Neosurf, it saddens us to hear colleagues in the payment industry absolving payment providers of any responsibility, leaving no opportunity for support. We believe in the importance of collective accountability and collaboration to ensure the best outcomes for all involved.

For us, this approach is misguided. We firmly believe in playing an active part in this ecosystem, fostering engagement and providing support for analysing, sharing tools and data to collectively combat money laundering and other various fraud attacks.

To this end, we have proactively enhanced our longstanding product – the Neosurf KYC Handshake – by integrating data-sharing capabilities. This enhancement provides a unique user journey and aims to provide the necessary support to our operators and help them fulfil their responsibilities.

In fact, it is this improvement that has enabled us to become fully operational in both the Netherlands and Ontario, having successfully met the necessary requirements set out by regulators – KSA (Netherlands) and iGO (Ontario).

Payment companies play a crucial role in the gambling industry, extending beyond facilitating financial transactions. We should go above and beyond to support the needs of players in the realm of responsible gaming and social responsibility.

At Neosurf, we specialise in facilitating cash-to-digital payments and offer a digital wallet platform that operates independently from traditional card schemes or banking databases. 

It is crucial to dispel the misconception that cash is obsolete, as this belief can lead to missed opportunities for player deposits or worse, drive players towards illegal sites or incur exorbitant fees to play on legitimate platforms.

Contrary to popular belief, cash-to-digital transactions are not anonymous or high-risk; rather, they provide a secure and traceable method of payment. In fact, more than 22% of the market comprises players who prefer cash transactions for various reasons. 

Using a voucher and digital wallet system, Neosurf ensures full compliance with anti-money laundering regulations while prioritising player privacy and desired controls. The traceability of transactions provides valuable data to assist operators in their AML practices, as well as in fulfilling their duty of care for responsible gaming and social responsibility.

We actively advocate for the emergence of other payment companies in our industry, promoting smart management, sharing, and collaboration with operators and gaming regulators worldwide. 

By cultivating meaningful relationships with regulators, payment companies contribute to the development of robust frameworks and industry standards. 

This collaborative approach fosters a responsible and ethical environment, and ensures sustainable growth within the gambling ecosystem.