Singapore’s government and its casino regulator are reviewing provisions in the country’s Casino Control Act in order to ensure they “fully” comply with reporting standards recommended for such business by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it has been confirmed to GGRAsia.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs and CRA [Casino Regulatory Authority] are reviewing the legislative thresholds in the Casino Control Act with a view to lowering these thresholds further to fully comply with the FATF standards,” the CRA said in a statement emailed to GGRAsia.
The “thresholds” referred to were the “Casino Control Act’s customer due diligence thresholds of SGD10,000 [US$7,177] for cash transactions and SGD5,000 for deposit transactions,” which “are higher than the FATF standards of US$/EUR3,000 (around SGD4,500),” added the CRA in its email. The story had been reported first by Bloomberg.
In a November mutual evaluation report of Singapore’s anti-money laundering efforts and countermeasures against terrorist financing, the FATF had said the city-state was only “partially compliant” with its standards, based on “deficiencies with regard to the inadequate customer due diligence requirements applicable to casinos, real estate agents, precious stones and metals dealers and accountants.”
The FATF did not refer to any particular Singapore casino. The local market is a duopoly divided between Marina Bay Sands, operated by a unit of United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp; and Resorts World Sentosa, run by Genting Singapore Ltd.
The CRA stated in its response to GGRAsia: “As noted in the 2019 report, Singapore has made substantive progress in strengthening measures to tackle money laundering/terrorism financing,” and had “addressed most of the issues” raised in an earlier FATF report issued in 2016.
The regulator said it had “worked with Singapore’s casino operators to implement a lower threshold of SGD5,000 for cash transactions,” and that such steps were “already in place”.
The CRA further noted to GGRAsia that its prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing measures were “reviewed by CRA on a continuing basis”. It added: “Where necessary, CRA strengthens and augments them accordingly.”
The FATF was set up in 1989 as an initiative of the G7 group of the world’s richest countries to develop policies to combat money laundering.
Last week the CRA told GGRAsia it was aware – prior to its publication – of a Bloomberg report that said Marina Bay Sands was being investigated by the United States Department of Justice over compliance procedures in relation to that venue’s anti-money laundering controls. Las Vegas Sands told GGRAsia it had no comment on that report.
(Updated June 9, 9.47am)
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