It looks like the casinos will no longer escape the clutches of the BSP by the end of this year. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is fast-tracking the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of what they call the Casino Law.
Republic Act no. 9160, also known as the Casino Law, an act designating casinos as covered persons under this act, is actually the amended Anti -Money Laundering Act of 2001. Under a recently signed law, casinos will be placed under the Anti-Money Laundering Law. The Chair of the Anti-Money Laundering Council or AMLC is the Governor of the Bangko Sentral. The other members of the AMLC Secretariat are the heads of the Securities & Exchange Commission and the Insurance Commission.
There have been talks in the recent past about putting the casinos under the AMLC, but it is only this year that the new Bangko Sentral Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. is doing something about it. The BSP Governor issued a statement saying he is fast-tracking the IRR of the pertinent law. This law empowers the Court of Appeals to slap a 20-day freeze order on suspected transactions. It also caps casino activities up to P5 million for tagging under the law.
BSP Governor Espenilla said that the new Anti-Money Laundering Law is a very welcome development because it will significantly strengthen the country’s ability to prevent the entry of illicit money into our economy. The BSP is already in the process of building up its manpower to be able to carry out its new mandate. Additionally, it refined rules on additional customer due diligence and will source documents, data or information for customer identification and verification.
Since the US$81 million Bangladesh Bank fiasco in 2016, the BSP has continuously been introducing stringent changes in its anti-money laundering policies. Here at home, any bank transaction over P500,000 is automatically reported to the AMLC.