Casino regulators need to work together to address the challenges of a fast-changing casino sector and the wide-ranging threats to the integrity of the industry via transnational crime, says Lee Tzu Yang, chairman of the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) of Singapore.
He made the remarks in a speech published on Thursday on the regulator’s website. The speech was for the 4th Singapore Symposium on Casino Regulation and Crime.
“The industry is dynamic and continues to change. Asia continues to be a source of growth for the industry. Whilst many Asian countries plan for legislation, the entities they seek to regulate are often part of larger regional or international organisations, which are already operating in other jurisdictions,” said the head of Singapore’s regulator.
“Sharing of experiences will… alert us to the changing modus operandi of criminal behaviour, and allow us to take action,” added Mr Lee.
“Casinos are cash-intensive businesses that operate 24 hours a day, with a high volume of different transactions taking place, including financial activities such as money exchange, money transfers, cashing of cheques and so on. These have associated risks, such as money laundering, terrorism financing, illicit flow of funds and syndicated cheating,” he noted.
He added that there was no one-size-fits-all solution to these issues for gaming jurisdictions.
“We need to tailor strategies to be relevant to our own needs, but we can better learn and adapt through discussions with like-minded counterparts,” said Mr Lee.
The symposium stems from what began in 2009 as an internal training forum between the Casino Regulatory Authority and the Casino Crime Investigation Branch of the Singapore Police Force, said Mr Lee. A symposium was last held in 2013.
This year’s event had approximately 170 attendees. They included participants and speakers from 16 regulatory and enforcement agencies from 11 jurisdictions; as well as speakers from government, academia, the non-profit sector and the casino industry.
Themes covered included: regulatory enforcement and supervision; technological developments within the gaming industry; and social safeguards for players. Group discussions were also held.
“Developments on the part of regulators include concerns about money laundering and transnational crime. In some countries in Asia, we have seen moves to initiate new or revise existing legislation,” noted the regulator’s chairman in his speech.
“There are many potential concerns from having casinos. We know that the presence of casinos will likely increase the incidence of problem gambling in society and resulting social issues, and give rise to potential for criminal exploitation and dishonest gaming. In Singapore, we take this carefully into account in the work of CRA,” said Mr Lee.
The city-state in 2007 issued a casino licence respectively to Las Vegas Sands Corp and to Genting Singapore Plc to operate one gaming resort each, namely Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa. The resorts opened for business in 2010. The exclusivity period for their licences expires in 2017.
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