‘Dirty money’ law now covers casinos
The guidelines of the amended law that includes casinos in the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act will be signed by concerned regulatory bodies today, strengthening the government’s fight against the entry of illicit money into the country.
This came a year after money stolen by cybercriminals from the central bank of Bangladesh entered the domestic financial system.
On the sidelines of the The Asset’s 12th Philippine Forum yesterday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor and Anti-Money Laundering Council chair Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. told reporters that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 10927 signed by President Duterte in July would soon be implemented following “extensive consultations” with stakeholders.
RA 10927 amended RA 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 to include casinos, even internet- and ship-based operations, as “covered persons.”
“The regulations and the law are addressed to the casino operators to behave in a certain way in line with anti-money laundering expectations. Casinos themselves have their own regulators. In this case, Pagcor, Ceza and a few others who are ecozone-based,” Espenilla explained, referring to the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, which hosts casino operations.
The move to include casinos as covered persons started before the Aquino administration left office, especially in light of the so-called Bangladesh Bank heist that saw the entry of dirty money into Philippine casinos and banks early last year.
Casino junket operator Kim Wong had returned $15 million to the AMLC during the height of the Senate investigation on the incident. The amount formed part of the stolen funds that made their way to the local gaming sector.
A copy of the guidelines of RA 10927 posted on the AMLC’s website showed that besides AMLC, Pagcor and Ceza, the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Apeco) was also tasked to implement the so-called “casino implementing rules and regulations (CIRR)” in order to “ensure that the Philippines would not be used as a money laundering and terrorist financing site for the proceeds of any predicate offense.”
The CIRR will apply to all casinos, including internet- and ship- based casinos, operating within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and authorized by the appropriate government agency to engage in gaming operations.
Under the CIRR, “casinos shall be prohibited from engaging in the following transactions or activities: Any transaction involving the conversion of cash from one form to another without being used in gaming, and results therefrom, made through: The receipt of cash for transmittal of all or part thereof through wire or telegraphic transfer for or on behalf of a customer; payments in cash of funds received through wire or telegraphic transfer; [and] the cashing of checks or other negotiable instruments.”
Also under the CIRR, casinos will be prohibited to receive cash, the purpose or ownership of which cannot be ascertained within a seven-day period from the date of receipt and to use casino chips in premises other than the issuing casino, including betting and exchanging into cash or other forms of casino chips.
Casinos are required to report to the AMLC all covered transactions and suspicious transactions “within five working days, unless the AMLC prescribes a different period not exceeding 15 working days, from the occurrence thereof,” according to the CIRR.
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