Casinos now covered by anti-money laundering act under new law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 19) — Casino operations in the Philippines are now covered by the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001, under a new law signed on July 14 by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Republic Act No. 10927 effectively amends AMLA, or Republic Act No. 9160, to include casinos as "covered persons," a copy of the law obtained from Malacanang Palace on Wednesday said.

Internet and ship-based casinos are also covered by the law, it added.

Casinos, as defined by the law, are businesses "authorized by the appropriate government agency to engage in gaming operations."

The AMLA also states that single cash transactions of casinos in excess of P5 million or its equivalent in any other currency, must be reported to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The AMLC oversees anomalous financial activities in the country and is chaired by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor.

Both AMLC and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation are given the joint responsibility of implementing the new law and regulating casino operations.

If the AMLC finds that a casino may be involved in unlawful activity, the law states that "the Court of Appeals may issue a freeze order which shall be effective immediately, for a period of 20 days."

Within the period, the Court of Appeals "shall conduct a summary determine whether or not to modify or lift the freeze order." The freeze order may also be extended up to six months, the law says.

Amendments to RA 9160 of 2001 were pushed when, in February 2016, some $81 million (approximately P4 billion) was siphoned from the Bangladesh central bank was laundered into the Philippines through casinos and other financial institutions.