Advancing with its efforts to prevent its casinos from being used to cover money laundering and to finance terrorism, the Singapore Casino Regulatory Authority is mulling plans to tighten due diligence requirements for casinos and their patrons.
The casino regulator of the city state has previously asked two licensed gaming facilities and their operators to establish a threshold for the transactions which are subject to due diligence at S$5,000 (roughly US$3,500). The city state’s present thresholds are quite higher than the international standard of US$3,000 delineated by the Financial Action Task Force.
Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs and the country’s gambling regulator are in the process of reviewing the governmental thresholds set in the Casino Control Act to find the possibility of lowering the current thresholds even further to make them completely meet the terms of global standards.
The city state legalized casino gambling around fifteen years ago, with its two authorized casinos, namely Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, opening their doors to the public in year 2010. The two authorized casinos have maintained their duopoly over the country’s casino gambling since their openings. In 2019, the country’s gambling regulator extended both casinos’ duopoly in the market through 2030. In exchange for that extension, the operators of the two casinos pledged to invest a combined S$9 billion and launch entertainment projects at their current integrated resort complexes.
The report of Singaporean authorities mulling plans to tighten casino due diligence processes surfaced just a few days after the U.S. Department of the Interior launched a probe into Marina Bays Sands’ alleged involvement in its anti-money laundering controls. In January, the U.S. authorities issued a grand jury subpoena to a former compliance chief at Marina Bays Sands’ integrated resort in Singapore over charges of money laundering facilitation. In addition, the investigation aims to reveal potential infringements related to the exploit of casino junket operators. Industry experts are of the view that the ongoing probe will likely benefit Marina Bay Sands’ competitor Resorts World Sentosa in the city state as VIPs will try to avoid Marina Bay Sands’ casino because of the ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s casinos continue to struggle for survival as the city state’s gaming facilities remain closed since 7th of April to help curb the spreading of the deadly corona virus pandemic. While the government allowed some businesses to reopen earlier this month, it is still unclear when casinos will be permitted to open their doors to the public.