The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that monitors the efforts that each country takes to combat money laundering released a report on December 1 that showed that casinos all across the United States had significantly increased the number of Suspicious Activity Reports, a measure of anti-money laundering compliance.
Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A. G. Burnett backed up the report by stating the casinos in the state have witnessed an increase in the number of names being added to the Excluded Persons List, otherwise known as the Black Book. Burnett estimates that more than 25 percent of individuals were added to the blacklist in the last 4 years than in the last 12 years.
The American Gaming Association (AGA) also confirmed that there had been an increase since 2014 in the number of patrons who were banned by casinos from entering their premises due to money laundering concerns. The AGI estimates that when compared to the 2011 blacklisting, the list in 2014 was around 23 times higher. Elizabeth Cronan, a senior director of gaming at the AGI stated that the industry had increased its efforts to cooperate with law enforcement as they wanted to ensure that none of the casinos were used for money laundering purposes, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Back in 2006, the FATF asked the casino industry to tighten its procedures to stop money laundering at casinos and wanted casinos to step up its customer identification procedures, closely monitor anti-money laundering (AML) operations and report all suspicious transactions. The former Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) director Jennifer Shasky-Calvery expressed concern during a presentation at the 2013 Global Gaming Expo stating that she feared there might be a culture in some parts of the casino industry who did not want to even toe the line with basic compliance laws.
Casinos have always been a target of money launderers but in recent times due to more stringent AML procedures, it has become difficult for these money launders to carry out their transactions. FinCEN reported that Suspicious Activity Reports went up by 69 percent between 2013 and 2014.
The 2016 FATF report recognized the casino industry for tightening regulations on money laundering activities and complying with AML and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) procedures. The FATF report also highlighted the fact that casinos have not only increased their spending on compliance procedures but have also taken further steps to implement mitigation procedures that was further and above the suggestions that FATF had made.
In a statement, Burnett said “Throughout the country, as gaming has entered into nearly every jurisdiction, save a couple, all of those jurisdictions have become hyper-aware of gaming-related crimes. I would say virtually 100 percent of every licensed gaming corporation in the U.S. has a good surveillance program, and the states impose those requirements on them.”