The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has commended the Philippines for legal changes that brought the nation’s casinos within the scope of the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act.
“[The IMF] welcomes the recent amendment… to include casinos” under the act, the IMF executive board said in a press release issued on Monday, following a regular review of the country’s economy.
“Notwithstanding this notable progress, the AML/CFT framework could be strengthened further by amending the bank secrecy law and making tax evasion a predicate crime,” the document added, referring to protocols on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
The amended AML law – as approved in May by the country’s Congress – came into effect in August. It requires casinos to report to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council what are referred to as “covered transactions”. Gaming operators must report any single casino cash transaction that involves an amount of more than PHP5 million (US$100,000) or its equivalent in any other currency.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council, together with national casino regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp and two regional casino regulators for special economic zones in the Philippines – Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority – agreed on October 25 to the specific regulations under which the gaming sector is to be covered by the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act. The regulations took effect from November 4.
As part of the new regulatory framework, Philippine casinos are required to make all players present an identity document and must also keep records of such customers’ gambling activity for at least five years.
In its Monday release, the IMF also commented on the Philippines’ overall economic performance. “The outlook for the Philippine economy is favourable despite external headwinds,” it said.
“Real gross domestic product growth is projected at 6.6 percent in 2017 and 6.7 percent in 2018, owing to continued robust domestic demand,” the IMF added.
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