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EU Bank/EMI offering USD/SWIFT for Pro Gambler

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royalflush

New member
Hi,

I am a professional gambler in the UK. I gamble in my own name and invest in other professional gamblers. My UK high street bank is not happy with the level of risk, so has given me notice.

I am looking for a personal account, not a corporate account. Turnover $1m+/month. Happy to park some assets if private bank - not so much for EMI o_O

I have spoken to a lot of EMIs, they will offer a suitable account for gambling companies, but not a personal account.

Lots of EMIs offering EUR/SEPA but I need USD/SWIFT.

Looking for consultant/introducer with experience in this field.
 

Don

Mentor Group Gold
If I was you I would open multiple bank accounts in the UK, and try to put a small amount of USD in a fixed-term deposit linked to your USD account. Also, buy some securities, and get credit cards so it would be more difficult for them to close your account.
 

royalflush

New member
Thanks for your reply Don, I have approached the problem in a similar way for the past few years. One bank even cancelled my mortgage! There are a few issues I have encountered:
  1. Luckily for me, profits are increasing each year - but this also means the longevity of accounts is decreasing. I want to spend more time on my "business" and less time filling out bank application forms
  2. I've been in this "business" for over 10 years, so I've burned through most of the high street banks (and I don't want to do anything that is not above board to enable me to open another account)
  3. There are few UK banks which offer USD accounts (I've burned them all) and transacting GBP/USD every day would be expensive
 

Don

Mentor Group Gold
Wow, canceling a mortgage because of high risk, that's quite unheard of.
The issue with many EU banks is that they only have one US correspondent bank and are scared shitless to take any risk regarding USD. You are probably not profitable enough for the bank to tolerate your high riskiness so I don't think you can hold the relationship with the bank long term. The best would be to try to stay under the radar with lower amounts and use some EMI-s as intermediaries and don't deposit directly to gambling sites.
 

Sols

Mentor Group Gold
Because gambling is still illegal on a federal level in the US, it's very hard to find and hold USD for anything related to gambling. It's not just about finding a bank that is happy with you (plenty would be), the currency is the problem. The local banks in the US can be very aggressive and banks risk losing their access to USD if there's any US-related gambling.

What you could do is receive USD into a custody/trustee account, and convert to GBP or other currencies as and when needed, or transfer to non-gambling related USD accounts. You will still run into source of funds problems with your banks since you're earning money through a high-risk but at least you won't irritate the bank by having gambling-related USD flowing through them. The account wouldn't be in your name, though, so you'd have to check if the gambling sites are OK with that.

Other options might be SEB in Luxembourg, Bank Frick in Liechtenstein or CFM Indosuez and CMB in Monaco. You'll need to park at least a million in some investment product to appease them. They are somewhat open wealth of gambling origin provided the gambling activities are licensed, but USD may be a deal-breaker.
 

Roamer

New member
How much of your turnover is profit? At this level, you could probably sit down and discuss with some private banking institutions and put this on the table as they are. Not necessarily Coutts, but there are plenty of private banking in London. But that implies that your profit is close to the turnover mentioned, or that you have a couple of £mil at hand to put in the account at opening.
 

royalflush

New member
The issue with many EU banks is that they only have one US correspondent bank and are scared shitless to take any risk regarding USD. You are probably not profitable enough for the bank to tolerate your high riskiness so I don't think you can hold the relationship with the bank long term. The best would be to try to stay under the radar with lower amounts and use some EMI-s as intermediaries and don't deposit directly to gambling sites.
This makes a lot of sense - EU banks with a single USD correspondent bank, profitable but not profitable enough to risk that correspondent relationship. I'm expecting to pay some risk-adjusted fees for this. One bank in the US would offer me an account, MVB Bank. There minimum monthly fee was $20k which I can't justify (yet).

Also, to clarify, although I gamble in my own name, I can't gamble online in the US. However I do invest in professional gamblers in the US, and this is where the USD/SWIFT requirement comes from.

@royalflush - is there any particular reason why you are not setting up a company?
Without going into the specifics, there are tax advantages. The UK doesn't tax gambling winnings. If I set up a company and booked the profits to the company I would have to pay tax. One avenue I have not investigated yet is setting up a company to process payments on my behalf.

If I run out of options I may have to look at taxable structures. It would make a big dent in profitability, but I'd rather earn less than none...

Because gambling is still illegal on a federal level in the US, it's very hard to find and hold USD for anything related to gambling. It's not just about finding a bank that is happy with you (plenty would be), the currency is the problem. The local banks in the US can be very aggressive and banks risk losing their access to USD if there's any US-related gambling.

What you could do is receive USD into a custody/trustee account, and convert to GBP or other currencies as and when needed, or transfer to non-gambling related USD accounts. You will still run into source of funds problems with your banks since you're earning money through a high-risk but at least you won't irritate the bank by having gambling-related USD flowing through them. The account wouldn't be in your name, though, so you'd have to check if the gambling sites are OK with that.

Other options might be SEB in Luxembourg, Bank Frick in Liechtenstein or CFM Indosuez and CMB in Monaco. You'll need to park at least a million in some investment product to appease them. They are somewhat open wealth of gambling origin provided the gambling activities are licensed, but USD may be a deal-breaker.
Thanks for the insight on USD restrictions. I have some knowledge of wire act/uigea/paspa/state-level regulation (and I only invest in gamblers in regulated states - playing at regulated operators). I should be able to demonstrate to a bank there is no risk of my account breaking any laws/compliance violations. I _think_ I need to find a bank small enough to take the time to understand my business model and the risks involved, and with experience in gambling so I'm not starting at square one.

Re: custody/trustee - I've attempted the trustee route - US banks said no. There may still be opportunities there that I have not fully exhausted. There are considerations when deciding on trust structure which affect the tax benefits.

Re: gambling in my name - this isn't a big issue to be honest, most of my USD needs are for investing in other gamblers.

Re: suggest banks, thanks for the suggestions, I have already reached out to Frick and will give the others a go.

cmb start from 5 m now days and is very pain in ass for incoming , mnot rally a good choice
This is useful too, I'll scratch cmb off the list. Saved me some time.

How much of your turnover is profit? At this level, you could probably sit down and discuss with some private banking institutions and put this on the table as they are. Not necessarily Coutts, but there are plenty of private banking in London. But that implies that your profit is close to the turnover mentioned, or that you have a couple of £mil at hand to put in the account at opening.
For every $100k out, I get roughly $150k in. I am gambling so the amounts and variance are irregular.

I do roughly 200 transactions out, 100 in per month. Majority with US individuals. Transaction size ranges from $1k to $50k.

I have spoken with a few banks that are happy with the source of wealth and are happy for me to park some assets with them. They can't support the day-to-day turnover.

If approaching private banks, do I need an introducer or can I "walk in the front door"? Having already spoken to some private banks who said yes to assets/no to turnover I expect most private banks will not entertain both.
 

Roamer

New member
The UK doesn't tax gambling winnings. If I set up a company and booked the profits to the company I would have to pay tax.
Have you looked into an LLP (limited liability partnership) as unlike a Limited Company, it is a passthrough entity which only taxes its members and not the company itself (i.e., you would pay income tax as you would do now, and no corporation tax). Check though if this is still valid with gambling income, but I don't see why it wouldn't be?

For every $100k out, I get roughly $150k in. I am gambling so the amounts and variance are irregular.
So that's roughly £650,000 profit per month for £1,000,000 monthly turnover. Overall, £5mil per year of profits, you should definitely email several private banks in London.

Even speak to Les Ambassadeurs, Colony Club, Crockfords, and the likes, and with a promise of spending there X amount yearly, I am sure they'll be able to connect you with useful banking institutions.

So if I were you, I'd check for LLP taxation of gambling income, then if it helps with bank accounts go ahead. If not, sit down with private bankers in full transparency and/or speak to private casinos in London. They will most definitely help but you'll have to give them something in exchange. Not the easiest routes but you'll get there, I am not worried for a second, especially if the gambling is debt-free and you can prove how legit it is.
 

Roamer

New member
Oh and for the London casinos... Don't knock their email inbox with a "I would like some help with a bank account" but more of a "I currently spend £XX,000,000 a year in gambling and I would love to join your institution for the after pandemic" and when they respond, mention about banking problems and if they can facilitate that so you can then spend some money in their establishment (and "entertain some guests", they love that).
 

royalflush

New member
I like the idea of asking the casinos for help @Roamer ;) Unfortunately a lot of my profits are, shall we say "establishment-specific", and sometimes I'm beating the house, so I don't tend to have long relationships with all of them. I could potentially offer to play there "recreationally" but that might cost more than $20k month which is my current "cheapest option".

It's an option when the land-based casinos reopen in a few months.

Accountant looking into LLP.
 

Roamer

New member
Got it.

If you can go the LLP route it would be better and easier. You still have to open a bank account with it and explain the sources of your LLP's revenue, but it should be fine especially with no line of credit (which I believe is forbidden now for gambling anyway).

Are your gambling revenues specific to a game (i.e. horse racing, poker, greyhound racing, etc) or multi-games? Is it solely online or both? I assumed it was poker since you stake for other players (which you should also check with said accountant whether that income would be classified as gambling, too, or not).
 
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