New bill to include casinos in money laundering law

The new legislation was filled at the Philippines House of Representatives and it aims to include casino operators in the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

The Philippines.- A new bill to include casino operators in the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act has been filed at the House of Representatives in the Philippines.

Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr., Quezon City Rep. (4th district) filed House Bill 014, “An Act designating casino operators as covered persons under RA No. 9160, otherwise known as the ‘Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001,’” as it reads.

Back in February, hackers broke into the Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in an attempt to send US$931 million to banks in Asia. US$ 81 million were transferred to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. in Philippines, eventually making its way to junket operators and casinos.

“Attempts to trace and recover the money encountered several setbacks, as casinos are excluded from the coverage of the country’s present anti-money laundering laws,” said Belmonte in a statement adding that the proposed measure seeks to address this issue and discourage the use of casinos as a venue for illicit activity.

Under the new bill casinos are required to report “covered and suspicious” transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council. The new legislation also provides for stricter customer identification requirements and record keeping systems. In addition, casinos would be prohibited to convert money from one form to another without their being used for gambling.