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US – AGA releases comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering report

By - 22 January 2016

The American Gaming Association’s released the most comprehensive examination ever conducted of the US casino gaming industry’s compliance with federal AML laws and regulations.

The report, carried out by Ernst & Young, comes ahead of the upcoming Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation, which is taking place this year for the first time in a decade. The FATF mutual evaluation process results in comprehensive written reports that are used by governments and the private sector to understand the money laundering and terrorist financing risks posed by countries and the financial sectors within them.
The report is called Investing in America’s Financial Security: Casinos’ Commitment to Anti-Money Laundering Compliance and highlights the industry’s commitment to AML Compliance and enhancements that the industry has made to AML Compliance programs since the last FATF Mutual Evaluation in 2006.

According to the report, casinos and gaming organizations across the country are more invested, compliant and vigilant than ever before in combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.
Over the past five years, gaming companies have increased AML compliance budgets by 74 percent, implemented a sweeping series of customer due diligence programs, and partnered closely with law enforcement and regulatory officials to ensure Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) standards are met.

According to Ernst & Young’s research, more than two-thirds of gaming companies studied (68%) have increased their organization’s AML budget – on an average of 74 percent per organization – over the past five years. Two-in-three (65 per cent) plan to increase their AML budget even more in the upcoming fiscal year with an increasing number of new full-time hires.

The gaming industry’s Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) filings more than doubled, up 164 per cent, between 2011 and 2014. At the same time, state and federal law enforcement officials interviewed for this research indicated that the quality of the industry’s BSA reports has improved.

The majority (71 per cent) of law enforcement and regulatory agency officials interviewed by Ernst & Young say the gaming industry understands the importance of SARs, Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) and monetary instrument log reporting requirements. Law enforcement and regulatory officials report finding a greater emphasis by the gaming industry on training staff and hiring experienced AML personnel.

In 2014, the number of customer relationships terminated due to unacceptable levels of risk was 23 times more than in 2011.

Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of AGA, said: “FATF will begin its work in the U.S. this year. The casino industry is one of many industries that will be assessed during the FATF Mutual Evaluation, and our hope is that FATF will carefully consider AGA’s 2016 AML Report as it develops its findings and conclusions related to our industry. This report, much like the AGA’s Best Practices for AML Compliance, is also part of a concerted effort to continue to strengthen our ties with prominent regulatory organizations including the U.S. Treasury Department and FinCEN. We are confident that FATF’s assessment will reinforce that the gaming industry is a model for other industries to follow when it comes to close, effective partnerships with regulatory and law enforcement officials.”

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