American Gaming Association Updates: Anti-Money Laundering Best Practices

and   |   December 16, 2019

To emphasize the gaming industry’s commitment to compliance and to guide casinos’ efforts in protecting the nation’s financial system, The American Gaming Association (AGA) has released updated Best Practices for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance.

The newly published Best Practices contains a more vigorous Risk Assessment section, and also provides enhanced procedures for Know Your Customer/Customer Due Diligence. The new material is based on guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Treasury Department’s National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s updated compliance guidelines.

The document also includes deepened analysis and updated recommendations regarding new and emerging forms of gaming, including the expanding U.S. sports betting market and interactive (mobile) gaming.

Risk Assessment now includes the strong recommendation that the risk assessment be conducted “no less than annually,” and should be tailored to each specific casino venue and the nature and characteristics of its location, enterprise, products, financial services and customers.

“Casinos should analyze their risk and then structure their compliance function to mitigate that risk, not the other way around,” states Best Practices.

Since 2018, when FinCEN’s Customer Due Diligence rule became effective, certain financial institutions – but not casinos – must identify the beneficial owners of legal entity customers. However, with FinCEN focused on the use of corporate forms to launder money, casinos should determine on a risk basis the level of Customer Due Diligence in situations involving payments from third parties for the benefit of customers. These include payments from corporations, partnerships, LLCs and other similar entities, especially if they are foreign-based.

The revised recommendations stress that a casino’s compliance policies should be calibrated to increase scrutiny of customer play, transactional activity and background in situations that pose greater risk of money laundering and using funds that may originate from criminal activity.

Since 2014, when gaming became the first industry to establish a comprehensive set of best practices for AML compliance, both the Best Practices and the AGA’s Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) compliance  efforts have been praised by FinCEN.

The new update uses the term “casino” to cover in-person and lawful interactive and mobile gaming operations, as well as sports betting, since BSA/AML compliance efforts applies to all forms of casino-style gambling.

The updated Best Practices for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance is available here.

For further information and to learn how REDW can assist you with these and other Gaming matters, please contact Joe Smith at joe.smith@redw.com or Marcus Benally at mbenally@redw.com.

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