It’s Not All Fun and Games in the Gaming Industry
Recent Trends in BSA/AML and the Gaming Industry
BSA compliance tends to be at the forefront of regulators’ attention. Our industry has grown accustomed to seeing BSA/AML-related enforcement actions against financial institutions, money services businesses and insurance companies. However, the industry catching many regulators’ attention lately is gaming.
Earlier this week, FinCEN issued a $12 million civil money penalty against CG Technology, L.P., doing business as Cantor Gaming. FinCEN found that this casino group had “egregious and systemic violations” of the Bank Secrecy Act. According to FinCEN’s assessment, Cantor Gaming failed to have sufficient internal controls and audits, failed to conduct AML training, and failed to use all information available to detect suspicious transactions. It also failed to properly and timely file CTRs and SARs, including transactions that were blatantly related to suspicious activity. The facilitation of illegal gambling on Cantor Gaming’s premises resulted in the indictment of more than 25 individuals.
Casinos are required to develop anti-money laundering programs to identify and report suspicious activity, similarly to financial institutions. Casinos’ AML programs must include a system of internal controls, independent testing, training, a designated individual, a suspicious activity monitoring program and so on. Sound familiar? Just like with banks or MSBs, FinCEN has the authority to investigate and penalize casinos based on their BSA compliance or lack thereof. Cantor Gaming is not alone. Other recent examples of regulatory action against casinos include a $75 million penalty to Tinian Dynasty and a $10 million penalty to Trump Taj Mahal, both in 2015.
The recent upswing of enforcement actions against casinos shows us that regulators will continue to monitor the gaming industry very closely. In a recent press release, Deborah Conner, Principal Deputy Chief of The Asset Forfeiture Money Laundering Section said, “Make no mistake. DOJ will pursue criminal charges and penalties against any financial institution, including casinos and card clubs that willfully violate the Bank Secrecy Act.”
Additionally, BSA/AML compliance in the gaming industry was a popular topic at this year’s ACAMS conference. Among the discussions, it was advised that casinos be selective: choose a contractor or vendor who can execute suspicious activity monitoring effectively. Presenters pointed out that it is ultimately the casino, not the vendor, that regulators will hold accountable.
Casinos are looking to “ante up” their AML programs, as is wise. To learn more about BAM+ or what it can do for non-financial institution clients, visit our main page or email [email protected].