On Monday, The United States casino industry’s trade group announced that it will be conducting a sector-wide assessment to measure the effectiveness of gambling houses’ efforts to eliminate money laundering within the gaming industry. This assessment, which is designed to prepare the industry for next year’s international evaluation, will calculate vulnerability and risk related to casinos and develop a compelling way to contextualize the money laundering risk presented by the casino sector through comparison to other regulated industries. According to an emailed statement from Geoff Freeman, chief executive of the American Gaming Association, the assessment is a component of the country’s proactive engagement to protect the country’s financial system.
This move comes on the heels of some of the country’s biggest casinos coming under federal investigation for money laundering allegations. In January, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino was given a record $10 million penalty for anti-money laundering failures after the Atlantic City casino admitted to breaking existing money laundering laws. However, regulators have noted an increase in the number of suspicious activities reported in the past year, which could indicate an uptick in compliance activity across the gaming industry.
This improvement could be a result of heightened awareness in the casino industry in recent months. In December, the gambling industry released a first-of-its-kind guide to help casinos prevent money laundering attempts. In particular, the report suggested watching for gamblers who don’t gamble much despite big spending, don’t willingly provide personal information when asked or make bets that cancel each other out, such as betting on both red and black at the same time in roulette.
The American Gaming Association’s assessment includes a request for proposal documents, which is expected to be completed by December. Using this information, an outside auditor will be able to determine the gaming industry’s total amount of resources dedicated to compliance, provide a comparative analysis of generated revenues among financial institutions and more effectively calculate the vulnerability and risk associated with the country’s casinos. By comparing this risk with that of other regulated industries in a compelling way, the assessment is expected to effectively illustrate the gaming industry’s progress toward eliminating money laundering risks.
Historically, casinos have been a primary target for money laundering efforts. In this method, an individual uses illicit cash to purchase chips before playing for a relatively short amount of time. Then, the person will cash in the chips for payment in the form of a check, instantly transforming the illicit cash into traceable gambling winnings and opening the door for interaction with banks and other financial institutions without excessive suspicion.
With the recently increased focus on anti-money laundering regulations within the gaming industry, casino operators are in a strong position to perform admirably in the upcoming assessments. The elimination of these practices from the industry will ensure that casinos remain a safe and fun option for law-abiding citizens moving forward, minimizing the presence of the criminal underworld that has historically interacted with gambling institutions. For casual gamers, these efforts are great news for continued industry growth.