Philippines orders casinos to keep digital records of clients

 

The Anti-Money Laundering Council in the Philippines has announced guidelines that will see casinos made responsible for keeping digital records of their customers in their own central databases. The move aims to promote the implementation of measures to combat money laundering in the Philippines among casinos and other businesses covered by the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act.

The council last year announced that casinos would be required to make all players show an identity document and to keep records of the gambling activity of all players for at least five years.

In changes to the council’s Registration and Reporting Guidelines for Casinos announced earlier this year, filing a report became compulsory within five working days in the event of “covered transaction”, where the amount involved is greater than PHP5 million (about US$100,000); or a suspicious transaction – for example, where the customer cannot be properly identified or people are suspected to be involved in serious crimes such as murder, financing terrorism or drug trafficking.

The council said in its latest announcement a casino compliance officer or other authorised personnel were expected to retrieve customer records quickly and, if asked or ordered, upload the records to the council.

The announcement said direct access to customer records in the database of each such business would allow duly authorised officials to analyse the finances of customers proactively.

The announcement quoted Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat executive director Mel Georgie Racela as saying that businesses following the guidelines will ensure the council can conduct its inquiries without attracting unwanted attention. “If money launderers and terrorists discover our investigation, it is a foregone conclusion that they would spirit away their assets, and thereby defeat the intention of the law,” Mr Racela said.

The guidelines are available online at and were expected to be enforced from mid-October.

 

GGRAsia