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Fiona Simmons March 23, 2023 2 min read
Philippines Looks Harder at Suspicious Junket Transactions in New Report
A new study by the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has looked closer into casino junkets, alleging that there has been a chronic problem with underreporting suspicious transactions
The study’s broader scope is an attempt to better understand the money laundering and terrorist financing failings in the casino sector, and specifically the junket sector. The majority of those originate in casino junket operators, the AMLC argues, with the study flagging multiple transactions that should have been reported but hadn’t.
Junket Operators Feed Operators Wrong Data
Essentially, the AMLC contends that junket operators have not been flagging and reporting all issues with relevant parties, in this case, their casino partners, allowing suspicious transactions to clear, and potentially breaking AML and CFT controls in the industry as they failed to disclose the transactions. The AMLC has stopped short of publicly naming the offenders but argued that junket operators linked to prominent resorts had been found to underperform insofar as this was concerned.
Junkets have been a particularly hot topic in Asia. After the near-blanket ban on junket operators in Macau, other jurisdictions have started taking the matter more seriously. Some junket operators tried to blindside their partner casinos by issuing blank reports and claiming that they had not detected any suspicious transactions whatsoever.
However, casinos which did the snooping on their own discovered discrepancies in the report. One particular property used CCTV to establish that there seemed to be large volumes of cash being exchanged which the junket had failed to flag as suspicious. The junket of that particular casino argued that it was a genuine mistake rather than a premeditated act.
Regardless, the suspicion remains. In the particular case cited above, the AMLC claims that the casino was able to nevertheless submit 507 Suspicious Transaction Reports, indicative that the operator was determined to ensure that it complies with AML and CFT rules.
AMLC Says Operators Need to Hold Junkets Accountable
There are ways to counter such bad practices, however. The AMLC insists that should casino operators want to, they can monitor their relationship with junkets and ensure that they impress upon the junkets that reporting of suspicious transactions must happen accurately and transparently.
One of the most serious issues discovered by the AMLC remains the exchange of physical cash on casino floors, which casinos would have to work to tackle actively by raising the stakes for junket operators who may be turning a blind eye to paying customers who could be breaking AML and CFT rules.
Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.
Casino March 23, 2023