Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Casinos Weigh Compliance vs. Customer Service in FinCEN Crackdown

April 14, 2014
Written by:  Samantha Beckett

US casinos are balking at the news that they could soon be required to divulge the sources of their high-rollers’ gambling bankrolls. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is expected to announce that American casinos will soon be brought in line with banks and other businesses to comply with Title 31 of the Bank Secrecy Act as part of an initiative to combat money-laundering.

Casinos fear that the plans will further dent their revenue at a time when turnover is largely disappointing, and the Las Vegas Strip casinos continue to be dwarfed by the vast profits of Macau and other emerging Asian markets. Casinos rely on so-called “whales” for a portion of their profits, especially during a recession when Joe Public stays at home, and the relationship is traditionally one based on privacy and discretion. That relationship will be completely disrupted should these rules be strictly enforced.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Casinos Shudder Over Possible Federal Requirement to Divulge Source of High Rollers' Gambling Funds

April 9, 2014
By: Howard Stutz

Word that the U.S. Treasury Department may soon require the casino industry to report the source of gambling funds used by their big spending high-rollers sent a few shock waves through corporate offices.

It wasn’t so much a rumble as it was a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

The move is part of a stepped-up effort by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to crack down on money laundering. Last September, FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery told an audience at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas that casinos could be subjected to the same requirements as banks and other businesses.

“Every financial institution, casinos included, should be concerned about its reputation,” she said during a speech at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. “Integrity goes a long way.”

A former gaming regulator said FinCEN hinted in the past that it could force casinos to comply with Title 31 of the Bank Secrecy Act. This is the loudest, however, the discussion has gotten.

Reuters reported last month that FinCEN will soon announce a requirement that casinos investigate the source of a player’s bankroll under Title 31 of the Treasury Department’s Bank Secrecy Act.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Exclusive: US to require casinos to vet high rollers' funds - sources

By Brett Wolf
March 26, 2014

(Reuters) - U.S. casinos may soon have to vet where their high rollers' funds come from under a requirement being developed by the U.S. Treasury Department, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The move is part of a push to address longstanding regulatory and law enforcement concerns that criminals can use casinos, which have not historically been as closely monitored as banks for compliance with anti-money laundering laws, to convert proceeds of crime into money that appears clean.

Under current law, casinos are required to report suspicious activity. A customer who used a large sum of cash to buy chips, gambled briefly, and then asked to cash out with a casino check, for example, would likely get reported to authorities.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

FinCEN Issues Advisory on the FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies

On February 14, 2014, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) updated its list of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies. These changes may affect U.S. financial institutions’ obligations and risk-based approaches with respect to relevant jurisdictions.

As part of the FATF’s listing and monitoring process to ensure compliance with the international Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) standards, the FATF identifies certain jurisdictions as having strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes.1 The FATF has updated its lists of jurisdictions that appear in two documents:2 (I) jurisdictions that are subject to the FATF’s call for countermeasures or are subject to Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) due to their AML/CFT deficiencies (referred to by the FATF as the ‘FATF Public Statement’) and (II) jurisdictions identified by the FATF to have AML/CFT deficiencies (referred to by the FATF as ‘Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance: On-going Process’). Financial institutions should consider these changes when reviewing their obligations and risk-based approaches with respect to the jurisdictions noted below.

Read FinCEN Advisory