On January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act, a US federal law, will begin requiring certain corporations and limited liability companies to disclose their beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Department of the Treasury. The corporate ownership structures of many gaming companies, particularly those that utilize a private equity or Voteco model, may be subject to the reporting obligations.
Unless an exemption applies, entities subject to these obligations must report information about their beneficial owners, including their full legal names, dates of birth, addresses, unique identification numbers, and an image of one of the following non-expired documents: (i) state driver’s license; (ii) US passport; or (iii) identification document issued by a state, local government, or tribe. Gaming companies should consult with their legal counsel on their specific structures and the applicability of the reporting obligations to their corporate ownership models.
The willful failure to report complete or updated beneficial ownership information to FinCEN, or the willful provision of or attempt to provide false or fraudulent beneficial ownership information, may result in civil or criminal penalties, including civil penalties of up to $500 for each day that the violation continues or criminal penalties including imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Senior officers of an entity that fails to file a required beneficial ownership information report may be held accountable for that failure.
The obligation to report this information is generally required for entities with at least one beneficial owner who owns 25% or more of the entity or exercises substantial control over it. An individual exercises substantial control over a reporting company if that individual meets any of four general criteria: (1) the individual is a senior officer; (2) the individual has authority to appoint or remove certain officers or a majority of directors of the reporting company; (3) the individual is an important decision maker; or (4) the individual has any other form of substantial control over the reporting company.
Reporting companies created or registered to do business before January 1, 2024, will have until January 1, 2025, to file their initial reports. Under FinCEN’s regulations, reporting companies created or registered on or after January 1, 2024, will have 90 days after their company’s creation or registration to file their initial reports, and those created or registered on or after January 1, 2025, will have 30 days after their company’s creation or registration to file their initial reports.