Singapore is considering tighter regulations at its casinos in an effort to prevent money laundering and financing for terrorism, the Singaporean Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) said.
The regulator has already asked casino operators to lower the threshold for cash transactions that are subject to due diligence to S$5,000 (US$3,592), half the current legislated level, a spokesperson said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg.
Singapore’s formal threshold is much higher than the global standard of US$3,000 set by the anti-money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the CRA said.
“The [Singaporean] 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.
Singapore’s casino industry is under the spotlight after Bloomberg reported last week that the US Department of Justice is investigating Marina Bay Sands Pte, the unit of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp, over whether money laundering controls were breached in the way it handled the accounts of gamblers.
Marina Bay Sands also faces a probe in Singapore by the CRA into its money transfer policies.
Claims about these transfers surfaced in a lawsuit filed last year by Wang Xi, who sued Marina Bay Sands seeking to recover S$9.1 million, which he said was sent to other casino patrons in 2015 without his approval.
The Singapore Police Force is also investigating Wang’s complaint, Bloomberg News reported last month.
In an e-mailed response about the probes, the Singaporean casino said that it takes any such allegations seriously.
The regulator said that it is “committed to ensuring that the casinos in Singapore, including Marina Bay Sands, remain free from criminal influence or exploitation, and takes a serious view of any allegations of unauthorized money transfers.”
The CRA outlined the changes in due diligence thresholds in response to Bloomberg’s request for comment on the FATF report, which said last year that the city-state had inadequate customer due diligence requirements for entities such as casinos and real-estate agents.
It said that “moderate shortcomings are still affecting” the two sectors, without citing any companies.
The FATF report published in November last year is the third follow-up to the 2016 mutual evaluation report on Singapore.
Last year, the Singaporean government agreed to extend licenses to operate casinos held by Genting Singapore Ltd and Las Vegas Sands Corp to 2030, in exchange for pledges to invest a combined S$9 billion in tourism projects. The casinos remain closed amid the pandemic.
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