Casinos put on money laundering watch by Philippines

  • Philippines begins monitoring casinos for potential money laundering activity
  • Comes after President Duterte signs law adding betting venues to list of watched businesses

The Philippines has begun monitoring large casino transactions in an effort to prevent money laundering activity at its betting and gaming venues.

philippines anti-money-laundering
Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law adding casinos to a money laundering watch list

This comes after proceeds from $81 million of stolen money passed through several venues in the country last year, with authorities now introducing new measures to prevent this from happening again.

President signs new law

President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, this week signed a new law which added gambling destinations to the list of institutions which would be monitored under the anti-money laundering scheme.

All transactions exceeding five million pesos at casinos now have to be reported to the central bank’s Anti-Money Laundering Council, who can freeze funds for up to six months if they are suspected to be involved in illegal activity.

President Duterte signed Republic Act 10927 on Wednesday after the nation’s existing anti-money laundering law, first signed in 2001, came under scrutiny when stolen money was passed through gaming venues.

Plugging a gap in legal framework

Talking about the new law, Philippine Central Bank Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. told the Philippine Daily Inquirer: “The new law will plug a critical gap in our legal framework. It will significantly strengthen our ability to prevent the entry of illicit money into our economy.”

Espenilla also said that he hoped the new rules and regulations of the recently passed law will be finalised by the end of the year at the very latest and assured that the Anti-Money Laundering Council will be able to cope with the new demands.

“The IRR will be developed in coordination with casino operators, notably Pagcor,” Espenilla added. The original law only covered banks, trust entities, insurance companies, investment houses, securities dealers, moneychangers and money remittance firms, however with the nation’s casino industry growing in the last few years, so too has money laundering at gaming venues.

The Republic Act 10927 is expected to stamp out money laundering in an industry aiming to rival the gambling districts of Las Vegas and Macau.

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