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Dominican Republic – Anti-money laundering rules will apply to entire Dominican Republic gaming sector

By - 25 May 2017

Presidency Minister of the Dominican Republic, Gustavo Montalvo, has clarified that betting and lottery games will not be excluded from within the scope of new laws on money laundering.

The official explained that it will not only be casinos which will be legally required to meet with new anti money laundering measures but also those involved in the operation of sports betting and lotteries as well.

Gambling operations were excluded from the bill at the last moment which led to wide spread criticism due to the high volume of cash which goes through betting shops each day. He explained that the Senate did not include them because the International Financial Action Group (FATF) standard establishes that only casinos are covered by the rules, and in the case where their clients make transactions in excess of US$3,000.

However, he said that when an owner or an executive of a sports betting business or lottery operator carries out a banking or real estate transaction, it should be subject to extended due diligence due to the risk associated with the movement of high volumes of cash inherent in the business.
Montalvo explained that operators will also be responsible for the implementation of a number of processes designed to identify and verify the identity of its clients so that they are not used as a means to launder money. A number of other businesses will also be included in the new measures. In the future if it is determined that the clients of any business sector are carrying out high volume transactions with little transparency then any person or company can be prosecuted and sentenced for money laundering, including betting shop and gambling operation owners he said.

The government initiative seeks to modify and update laws on money laundering made from illicit drug trafficking and were first submitted for approval in February by the Executive Branch. The new law would align the country’s rules with the revised Forty Recommendations put forward by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which sets standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

In the Dominican Republic gaming is regulated by three major gaming laws. Law No.351 which was passed in 1964, Law No.96-88 which was passed in 1988 and Law No.29-06 which was passed in 2006. Broadly speaking Law No.315 allowed casino gaming in the Dominican Republic. Law No. 96-88 allowed casinos to house slot machines in order to further boost revenues for the state and Law No.29-06 significantly increased the tax burden on casinos and the gaming industry. It also permitted slot machines in sports betting shops. Gaming laws are also frequently amended primarily in order to raise taxes on the industry.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

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