The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted on 23 December 2019 the Law on amendments and supplements to the Law on games of chance (“Official Gazette of RS”, no. 91/2019) (hereinafter referred to as the “Law”).
The Law shall enter into force on 1 January 2020. Harmonization of the Law on games of chance with the EU Directive 2015/849 as of 20 May 2015 and the EU Directive 2018/843 as of 30 May 2018, as well with recommendations of international organisations, i.e. Recommendations of FATF (Financial Action Task Force) represents the main reason for rendering this Law.
By the envisaged amendments, the definitions of an appointed person, an associate and the beneficial owner of the legal entity are introduced in accordance with the protection of organizers of games of chance (hereinafter referred to as the „organizer“) from the situation in which persons, who are under criminal investigation or are convicted or violate regulations that refer to the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, are direct or indirect owners of legal entities or have the control over legal entities. In this way, a legislative framework in the sector of games on chance in accordance with the European standards was created.
The said obligation refers to delivering the proof on beneficial owners, revised financial statements and data on conviction of persons in the ownership structure, i.e. persons from the management structure of organizer. Organizers are obliged to deliver these proofs within six months from the day on which this Law enters into force.
Article that refers to the General terms for organizers of games of chance defines that even after the beginning of performing its activities, the organizer cannot have in his ownership structure or management structure persons under criminal investigation or convicted persons or persons that violate regulations in relation to the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing.
In addition to existing reasons for revocation of the licence for organizing special games, it is prescribed that the licence could be revoked even if an organizator stops fulfilling other conditions or does not fulfil other obligations in accordance with the law.
In accordance with the recommendations of the Committee of Council of Europe - Manival, the data on persons who enter the gaming house which are stored in a permanent database managed by organizer were specified. Additionally, it is stipulated that the person entering gaming house, under material and criminal responsibility makes a written statement that it participates in the games of chance on its own behalf and in its name.
Unsecuring this permanent database by the State Lottery of Serbia and not acting in accordance with the regulations on the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing represent reasons for imposing a fine, according to penal provisions of the Law.
By Jelena Stankovic Lukic, Partner, and Anja Sakan, Senior Associate, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic