Singapore considers tightening casino rules for customers to curb money laundering, terror financing

The government agreed last year to extend licenses to operate casinos held by Genting Singapore and Las Vegas Sands to 2030.
The government agreed last year to extend licenses to operate casinos held by Genting Singapore and Las Vegas Sands to 2030.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore is considering tightening the due diligence process for customers at its casinos in an effort to prevent money laundering and financing terrorism, according to the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA).

The regulator earlier halved the legislative threshold for the amount of cash transactions at casinos that are subject regulatory review to $5,000, a CRA spokesman said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg queries.

Singapore’s current legislative thresholds at S$10,000 are higher than the global standard of $3,000 ($4,200) set by global anti-money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force, according to the CRA.

"The Ministry of Home Affairs and CRA are reviewing the legislative thresholds in the Casino Control Act with a view to lowering these thresholds further to fully comply with the FATF Standards," the CRA said.

The Financial Action Task Force reported in November that the city-state had inadequate customer due diligence requirements for entities such as casinos and real estate agents.

It said "moderate shortcomings are still affecting" the two sectors, without citing any companies.

The FATF report published in November is the third follow-up to the 2016 mutual evaluation report on Singapore.

Last year, the Singapore government agreed to extend licenses to operate casinos held by Genting Singapore and Las Vegas Sands to 2030, in exchange for pledges to invest a combined $9 billion in tourism projects.

Bloomberg reported last week that the Marina Bay Sands casino is being probed by the United States Department of Justice over whether anti-money laundering regulations were breached in the way it handled the accounts of top gamblers.