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The Philippine financial system did not comply with international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations to be removed from the gray list, and the main reason is the country’s casinos’ non-compliance with AML measures.
The Philippines again did not get an exit from the international money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, FATF gray list. As of FATF’s recent plenary in October, the delegation claimed the Philippines casinos’ are the main reason not to get removed from the gray list. They need to control the casino environment and ensure they uphold international standards by complying with AML/CFT regulations. The legal gaming industry lawyer, Tonet Quiogue, urges casino operators to implement rigid measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, including weaknesses in their existing system. She added gaming and gambling risk assessment at medium level in the country, and they did not follow the measures to secure the integrity of the country’s economy. Whilst banning this industry they lose the significant amount of revenue these casinos generated for the country. She stated, “the casino is still a covered body that has its own responsibility to comply with all laws and regulations to combat financial crimes.”
FATF stated that the Philippine government has to show the implementation of strict measures and AML and CFT compliance to get removed from the gray list. They have to implement an action plan to overcome the deficiencies in their system. Specifically, demonstrates that efficient risk-based oversight of approved non-banking financial enterprises, such as casinos, and the utilization of Anti Money Laundering Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations by Philippine regulators to reduce risks related to the management of casino junkets. Tonet stated that in resolving this issue, casino operating companies had to utilize robust technology for complying. However, simply ordering is not enough; the regulatory bodies must supervise how casino junkets are working and impose hefty fines on noncompliant gaming organisations.
Tonet mentioned, “in her investigation of compliance checking, the AML/CFT programs of some casinos need to be revisited and aligned with the ML/TF risks to which the casino is exposed, particularly concerning junket operations.” The Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) stated last week that it is now enforcing stricter AML/CTF rules specially designed for casino junkets. This initiative is a proactive reaction to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) most recent comments.