THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Council said the partnership will tighten its cooperation with PAGCOR on monitoring financial risks. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Council (AMLC) inked deal with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to tighten their cooperation for its feedback mechanism amid money laundering and terrorism financing risks that come amid the rise in internet-based casinos, casino junkets, as well as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

In his speech at the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MoA), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor and AMLC Chairman Benjamin E. Diokno said the MoA with PAGCOR will likewise allow them to collaborate in terms of sharing studies, research, and information in recent emerging trends related to money laundering and terrorism financing.

“The actionable information that we share with each is important in supporting financial investigations,” Mr. Diokno said on Tuesday.

He said the MoA will also allow them to carry out capacity-building measures to address the said threats.

“The latest National Risk Assessment notes a high sectoral money laundering threat among designated non-financial businesses and professions — including casinos which are highly vulnerable,” he said.

Mr. Diokno said the rise in different varieties of casino operations as well as the decrease in transparency of high-rollers or gamblers that consistently bets using a large amount of money resulted to “much vulnerability” in terms of identifying sources and the movement of funds.

“This calls for strict enforcement of and compliance to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies-urging the full cooperation of covered persons during the conduct of examinations — especially with the rise of POGOs,” he said.

Under the amended Anti-Money Laundering Act or Republic Act No. 10927 enacted in 2017, casinos are considered as “covered persons.”

In his speech, Mr. Diokno cited PAGCOR’s role to supervise, assess, and monitor whether casinos comply on their obligations as per the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the Casino Implementing Rules and Regulations, among other relevant issuances. He noted that the agency informs AMLC of the results of its inspections.

PAGCOR operates nine casino branches as well as 32 satellite casinos all over the country.

In August, the AMLC fine-tuned rules on administrative cases for casino officials and employees and unveiled a gradation of fines depending on the gravity of violation.

In December, the dirty money watchdog announced they would be pushing for changes to their framework to avoid heightened surveillance over weak anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing measures. — Luz Wendy T. Noble