The Philippines Introduces New Anti-Money Laundering Rules for Casinos

The Philippines Introduces New Anti-Money Laundering Rules for Casinos

The movement of funds to and from Philippine casinos will be monitored by the nation’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) from November 4 when the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10927 are slated to be enacted. The set of rules and regulations was published late last week.

Under the new anti-money laundering act, local casinos will have to deploy formal processes for customer identification, ones that have already been introduced at local banks and other financial institutions.

The IRR framework was crafted by the AMLC together with PAGCOR, the nation’s gambling regulator, the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority. The set of rules and regulations will cover land-based casinos, casinos on cruise ships, and online gaming operations.

The anti-money laundering controls came after the 2016 Bangladesh Bank robbery that saw unknown hackers order the transfer of $81 million from the Bangladesh Bank to bank accounts registered in the Philippines. The money was withdrawn almost immediately and then disappeared in the nation’s casino industry.

The Philippines was then urged to adopt stricter anti-money laundering regulations, ones that would prevent the illicit flow of money to and from the country and its gambling properties. The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering warned the Philippines to close the “structural gap” that has marred its reputation for quite some time.

The New Requirements

Each individual casino will be required to establish internal programs for the prevention of money laundering. Their own systems and know-your-customer tools will have to match ones already deployed by financial institutions. Casinos must be able to monitor constantly and detect any money laundering activities and any potential arrangements for terrorism financing and other criminal deeds.

Compliance officers, guided by a senior management at each of the casinos, will be tasked with surveying for suspicious transactions.

Gambling venues will have to be presented with essential information about their customers in order for them to be able to play at the properties. They will be required to keep records about each of its players for no less than five years. Patrons will not be allowed to use aliases. They will have to present their true identities to any casino they are playing at.

Under the new rules, withdrawal and transfer of funds will not be able to be processed without a face-to-face contact with the patron that has requested the transaction.

Casinos will have to report any suspicious transaction or a transaction that seems to be out of the regular pattern. Such reports must be presented between 5 and 15 working days after the transactions are requested.

As mentioned above, the new rules will be implemented on November 4. All gambling properties will have three months after the new anti-money laundering act comes into force to join the AMLC’s reporting system.