Reel Lives: Sporttrade’s Arpita McGrath On Anti-Money Laundering, Exchange Wagering, And The Luxury Of Power Windows

Eric Raskin

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Every gambler has a story to tell. And so does every person who chooses to make a living in this unique industry.

In our “Reel Lives” seriesCasino Reports shines a spotlight on people working in the gaming business, from executives, to analysts, to media members and communications pros, and all points in between.

The subject in this interview: Arpita McGrath, the chief compliance officer since 2021 at Sporttrade, a sports betting operator presently licensed in three states — New Jersey, Colorado, and Iowa — that differentiates itself by offering exchange wagering where permitted.

Casino Reports (CR): Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

Arpita McGrath (AM): Originally I am from North Jersey — but if we want to go way back to where I was born and my background, that’s India. I now live in Cherry Hill in South Jersey, so I haven’t gone too far. I lived in Philly for about 15 years — I went to school at Drexel and then stayed there afterwards. The need for a driveway and easy parking is what drove me out of the city and into the burbs. I miss the food scene a lot, though, and thankfully still am able to go back since it’s only 25 minutes away.
 
CR: For the uninitiated: What are a chief compliance officer of a regulated sports betting operation’s main duties?

AM: In a nutshell, make sure that the company is protected from risks and aware of risks and figure out how to mitigate them. To expand on that, there is a lot that the CCO is responsible for, and most people don’t know that they can be personally held liable as well. 

At Sporttrade, my team and I set up the foundation for the anti-money laundering (AML) and responsible gaming program. This means building out the model for customer risk rating, transaction monitoring, documenting policies and procedures, and ensuring that there are strong internal controls. Leveraging technology has always been a big initiative of mine in any role and it is essential when operating with a lean team. We have been able to use robotic process automation (RPA) for daily tasks and incorporate it into our analysis. In the near future, we will be leveraging artificial intelligence to further enhance our current processes and controls. 

Also part of a CCO’s role in a regulated sports betting operation is to play a key role in launching and expanding into multiple jurisdictions. In addition, I am responsible for building out and keeping current for all the jurisdictions the following items: the terms and conditions, house rules, policies, procedures, and promotional terms and conditions.

There is a lot more that is covered under the CCO’s role, but if I go into all of it, this response will turn into a book!

CR: Is it vital to have a finance background to work for a stock-market-style sports wagering site like Sporttrade?

AM: No, it is not. My background, by degree, is actually Accounting and Entrepreneurship and my professional background is in BSA/AML. With my role at Sporttrade, a finance background wouldn’t have been helpful because a CCO actually needs more of a compliance, AML, or legal background. There are a lot of folks in the company that may not have a direct finance or sports betting background. The industry is all still very new, and in the U.S., we’ve created a new vertical in sports betting. The most important trait that a person would need to have is to be a quick learner, able to think on their feet using common sense and open to learning while applying what you know.

CR: Inside or outside gaming, what career accomplishment are you most proud of?

AM: I honestly am the most proud to be where I am today. I feel proud to be in a position where I can use my background knowledge and apply it to help shape a new(ish) industry. Being in three states now is very energizing and validating as an individual but also as a company. I am also proud to be surrounded by some of the most intelligent, driven, and genuine people I have ever met. 

CR: How do you like to spend free time away from work? Any interesting hobbies or secret talents?

AM: In my free time away from work, I like to spend it with my family — they are my entire world — and travel when I am able. Something worth mentioning is that I really enjoy planning events and would say that my interesting hobby/ secret talent is that I am also a wedding planner.

CR: You’re an expert in anti-money laundering. When you see it depicted in movies or TV shows, do they tend to do it accurately? Is there a particularly unrealistic depiction that made you roll your eyes?

AM: It can be very dramatized when seen on TV, naturally! The essence of what you see on TV is accurate when it comes to FBI raids, etc. However, what folks may not always see is the time and effort that is spent behind the scenes gathering, documenting, and reporting all the evidence. That can be a long, drawn-out process, and there are many times that it doesn’t get to the escalated level that is depicted on TV. But who wants to watch the analysts behind the scenes doing their day-to-day jobs? 

Reel fast

Another person in gaming who has my utmost admiration is …

Alex Kane. I am so honored to be able to work alongside him because not only is he an amazing, inspiring leader, he is also a genuine, kind, down-to-earth person, which is reflected through the culture he has grown at Sporttrade.

What’s the first vehicle you drove?

Honda Civic. I bought my first car by myself and the windows had to be rolled down manually with one window that didn’t even roll down properly. The ultimate luxury for me was when I got a car that had power windows!

The best thing about gaming industry conferences is …

Meeting all the people, and now being at a point where I have built a network of amazing, supportive, intelligent people.

What’s your favorite beverage — alcoholic, caffeinated, or otherwise?

Chai, the authentic kind — not the one that you find at Starbucks! “Chai” means tea, so when people say “chai tea,” they are just saying “tea tea.”

My favorite place I’ve ever traveled for work is …

Nashville.

Ultimate guilty pleasure TV show?

Reality dating TV shows that are always a train wreck! (Love is Blind, The Bachelor, etc.)

You can find Arpita on LinkedIn or on X, or perhaps just driving around in her car and taking pleasure in rolling the windows up and down without having to turn a crank.

Previous installments of Reel Lives:

Elliott Rapaport of Birches Health On Virtual Therapy, The Fastest-Growing Patient Segment, And The Boss

Las Vegas Advisor’s Anthony Curtis On Counting Cards, Loving His Job, And Finding The Quintessential Vegas Deal

Invariant Communications Pro Caroline Ponseti On Owning The Issue, Mental Health Awareness, And DC’s Food Scene

The AGA’s Bill Miller On Helping The Industry Through COVID, The Sports Betting Explosion, And Coaching His Kids