The Anti-Money Laundering Council in the Philippines says the operators of five casino resorts in the country have registered with the financial intelligence organisation, ensuring they meet international best practice.
In a statement issued last week, the council identified the companies as Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, the operator of Resorts World Manila; Widus International Leisure Inc and Widus Philippines Inc, which run the Widus Hotel and Casino; Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc, which runs the Solaire Resort and Casino; Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp, which runs the City of Dreams Manila; and Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc, which runs the Okada Manila.
The council says it requires all casinos in the country to register with the body by August 17.
The registration requirement is featured in guidelines issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international policy-making body that sets standards and promotes effective implementation of measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
In changes to the council’s Registration and Reporting Guidelines for Casinos announced earlier this year, filing a report became compulsory within five working days in the event of “covered transaction”, where the amount involved is greater than PHP5 million (about US$100,000); or a suspicious transaction – for example, where the customer cannot be properly identified or people are suspected to be involved in serious crimes such as murder, financing terrorism or drug trafficking.
The council last year announced that casinos would be required to make all players show an identity document and to keep records of the gambling activity of all players for at least five years.
While the council works to enforce the standards set by the FATF, the United States Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report has been critical of the Philippine’s tolerance of proxy gambling. An April report said the practice of placing bets on behalf of someone not physically present in a gaming venue was one of the biggest deficiencies in Manila’s anti-money laundering strategy.
In 2016, thieves used Philippine casinos to launder part of the US$81 million belonging to the Bangladeshi central bank that they stole electronically from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The money was laundered in Philippine casinos and has yet to be traced.
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