PAGCOR issues AML guidelines to aid casinos in dealing with junkets

Junket operators must pass new checks to maintain agreements with casinos.
Junket operators must pass new checks to maintain agreements with casinos.

The guidelines aim to strengthen casinos’ anti-money laundering and terrorism financing controls.

The Philippines.- The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has issued new guidelines entitled “Casino Guide for a Fitness and Proprietary Assessment for Junket Operators”. The document aims to aid land-based casinos in their obligations to assess the fitness and propriety nature of junket operators and related associates, agents or promoters.

According to the regulator, the guidelines describe the criteria to determine whether any junket operator or applicant for junket operations is “fit and proper”. It forms part of PAGCOR’s commitment to tighten controls to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Key criteria include an analysis of whether “key individuals have been convicted, on indictment of dishonesty, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering, terrorist financing, proliferation financing, theft, or financial crimes.”

Another criteria is to check for “an agreement with creditors, filing for bankruptcy upon declaration of bankruptcy, having been the subject of a bankruptcy petition or a key individual involved in proceedings relating to any of these matters”.

Junket operators must pass the new checks to maintain agreements with Philippine land-based casinos.

In June, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) updated its grey list of jurisdictions that require increased monitoring due to the risk of financial crime, and the Philippines remains listed.

The FATF acknowledged that the Philippines had “taken steps to improve its AML/CFT regime” since last June. However, it listed seven areas where more work is needed to address the country’s “strategic deficiencies” related to AML and CFT.

Among the recommendations, it said the Philippines needs to demonstrate that it uses AML and CFT controls “to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets.”

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