Philippines places casinos under AMLA law

Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines. Credits: NTN24
Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines. Credits: NTN24

The president of the Philippines has signed into law the Anti Money Laundering Act in order to avoid illegal financial casino transactions.

Philippines.- Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has signed a new law that places casino operations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), in order to end illegal financial transactions. The Republic Act 10927 amended RA 9160, also known as Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, to expand its coverage and include other transactions.

As Duterte signed the measure, land-based and off shore casino operations are not considered “covered persons” under the AMLA, as Manila Times reported. The new law requires that casino transactions worth at least US$100k have to be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which is in charge of monitoring suspicious transactions.

“This is a very welcome development. It plugs a critical gap in our legal framework. It will significantly strengthen our ability to prevent the entry of illicit money into our economy,” said Governor Nestor Espenilla. As the law establishes, casinos are a business authorised by the appropriate government agency to engage in gaming operations. RA 10927 allows the Court of Appeals to set a 20 day freeze order if it suspects a fraudulent activity.

If an activity gets reported, the court is forced to conduct a hearing in order to determine the freeze order, which cannot exceed a six month period, or the lift of the sanction. As reported last month, casino regulators would also register bets near US$20k to US$80k deposited by the same player throughout a same week or month. The restriction amendment was presented last week by Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, chairman of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries.

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AMLA Philippines