New rules aimed at tightening anti-money laundering regulations for land-based casinos in the Philippines could reportedly come into force later this year as Senate lawmakers look to approve their version of a bill amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act Of 2001 as early as May before sending it to the House Of Representatives.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, the move follows last year’s heist of the state-run Bangladesh Bank that saw around $81 million illicitly transferred from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation electronically before disappearing via at least two Manila casinos.
Reuters cited Aquilino Pimentel, Senate President for the Philippines, as revealing that his body hopes to pass legislation that would plug holes in the nation’s current anti-money laundering rules as soon as May while the lower House Of Representatives is expected to hold separate discussions on its own amendments around the same time.
“The pending bill is one of the products of the investigation,” Pimentel told Reuters, referring to an inquiry the Senate conducted into the stolen Bangladesh Bank cash last year.
Reuters reported that the proposed Senate legislation would require casinos to report any bets made within a 24-hour period that totaled $60,000 or more to the Asian nation’s Anti-Money Laundering Council while instituting stricter enforcement of existing “know your customer” rules.
Pimentel told Reuters that he expects President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the new anti-money laundering measures into law this year while additionally stating that the Senate had not closed it doors to the possibility of re-opening its investigation into the Bangladesh Bank heist as only about one-fifth of the stolen cash has ever been recovered.
Reuters moreover reported that amending current anti-money laundering laws in the Philippines has been an uphill battle due to the fierce lobbying of the local gaming industry, which last year raked in some $2.97 billion in gross gaming revenues.