According to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) U.S. casinos increased suspicious activity reports to the agency by 69% last year. At a recent conference in Las Vegas, Director Stephanie Brooker pointed out that the jump in numbers is directly attributable to increased reporting by casinos, rather than a surge in money laundering crimes.

For several years now the enforcement network has been taking an ever increasingly hard line with casinos who do not properly submit suspicious activity reports. Several big names in the industry have paid out hefty fines for allowing money laundering to occur in their businesses in recent years. However, those sanctions did not always come with an admission of guilt or acknowledgement that the casinos were involved in criminal activity. That is changing according to Brooker. Settlements will now require violators to admit not only the facts but include an admission that they violated the law.

Money laundering in casinos used to be rampant with organized crime having a hand in many U.S. casinos. Those days have changed but the industry can do even more according to Brooker.

“We are seeing some meaningful improvements in this industry, but there’s more work to be done,” Brooker said. “I believe that it can be done, but it’s going to take a real and sustained commitment across all areas of your institutions.”

The American Gaming Association is helping casino concerns know the law and stay in compliance. Last year they published guidelines to help casinos thwart money laundering activity. The December 2014 report was entitled, “American Gaming Association Best Practices for Anti-Money Laundering Compliance“.

Casinos must report all transactions in excess of $10,000. They must also file “suspicious activity reports” whenever they should reasonably suspect that a gambler may be using ill gotten gains at a casino.

The Bank Secrecy Act applies in all casinos in U.S. jurisdictions, including the Northern Marianas Islands, as Tinian Dynasty Casino recently learned.

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