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Simon Deloit December 10, 2019 3 min read
AGA Adopts New AML, KYC Guidelines to Boost Security in the Casino Industry
The American Gaming Association (AGA) has released a new set of rules designed to usher cooperation between regulators and the casino industry, and prevent money laundering practices.
AGA Released Revised Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Guidelines
On Monday, the American Gaming Association (AGA) published its updated strategy guidelines for upholding the highest standards of customers protection in the casino industry. Specifically, the U.S. industry body will focus on preventing money-laundering and other illegal forms of funding.
The casino industry has long been seen as a potential conduit of such practices, but the AGA, federal and local regulators have been able to enforce adequate measures. AGA CEO Bill Miller commented the new guidelines in an official statement this week, explaining the necessity for updating the guidelines and citing the legalization of sports betting and online gambling as the main reason.
AGA worked with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to introduce a comprehensive framework and prevent future illicit sources of funding.
The new framework is based on work by FinCEN as well as the Department’s National Money Laundering Risk Assessment and the Office of Foreign Assets Control guidelines.
A Highly Regulated Market in the United States
Commenting on the state of the U.S. gaming industry, Miller argued that the United States is one of the most heavily regulated markets when it comes to casinos. He is correct and the land-based sector has been kept under close scrutiny.
The latest updates are specifically tailored to meet the growing interest in online gaming. AGA specifically stresses on the culture of compliance and industry engagement with relevant authorities and regulators.
Furthermore, AGA wants to focus on these emerging products, such as mobile gaming and betting. The efforts to scrutinize the industry have been ongoing. Speaking at the Las Vegas Anti-Money Laundering Conference in 2018, FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco outlined an action plan for the future, calling on all regulators to work together:
“FinCEN is able to do important things with the data that casinos and other financial institutions provide every day.
Together, financial institutions and FinCEN play a critical role in keeping our country strong and prosperous, our financial system secure, and our communities and families safe from harm.”
America’s Gambling Giants Fined
Regulators have been treading carefully in the newly-regulated market with fines issued to various casinos and gambling businesses in the United States. Most recently, California slapped Hawaiian Gardens Casino with a $3.1 million fine, following up on a previous penalty issued by FinCEN in 2016. The same year, CG Technology agreed to pay $22.5 million fine for the company’s alleged involvement in a money laundering scheme, breaking the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
The Bank Secrecy Act has often been cited by FinCEN in issuing federal fines to multiple establishments. In 2015, Caesars Entertainment had to pay $9.5 million for violating the BSA a few years before in 2012.
Even though each state regulates its own gambling industry, AGA and regulators are determined to create centralized anti-money laundering rules and hold casinos accountable.