Money laundering regs put casinos in cop’s role

Oct 15, 2002 6:59 AM

   Every year in casinos across the country, billions of dollars are being laundered through various types of money transactions, according to federal law enforcement officials.

   Beginning next year, Nevada casinos will have to take a more active role in preventing such illegal activities under new rules and amendments that take effect in March.

   These new regulations are designed to make it more difficult for criminals to launder money, while at the same time placing the casino into the role of law enforcement.

   Among the upcoming changes proposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN are:

 

1.      Casinos grossing over $1 Million in annual revenue must report all suspicious activities that are relevant to the violation of the law to the Department of Treasury.

2.      Casinos must comply with all the rules and regulations set forth by the Department of Treasury.

3.      Report all suspicious currency transactions that has now been raised from $3,000 to $5,000, and all currency transactions of more than $10,000.

4.      Will not be required to report robbery or burglary as suspicious activity.

5.      What to file, where to file, and when to file.

6.      Retain original and copied documents of related activity for a period of five years from the date of the occurrence.

 

   There is also a Confidentiality Act within the changes. Other casinos across the country that have fallen victim and are witness to these money laundering activities, are not required to report these activities to other casinos across the nation, or to persons involved, but must report them to FinCEN.

   These changes were recently presented by Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Board Member of the U.S. Department of Treasury, Robert Faiss, as well as Representative of Nevada Casino Industry before the U.S. Department of Treasury, Paul E. Larsen, at a seminar held in Las Vegas.

   Since casinos that gross over $1 Million in annual revenue are now considered as “Financial Institutions” under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) since 1985, all casinos that fall into these guidelines will have to file Suspicious Activities Reports by Casinos (SARCs), Currency Transaction Reports by Casinos (CTRCs), and comply with each and every new rule proposed in Regulation 6A.

   Failing to comply with any of these rules, could result in a fine of $25,000.

   Greg Gale, Chief Auditor of the Nevada Gaming Commission, said he hopes to change some of these requirements in the future, though they must be presented to FinCEN before the proposal is finalized next year.

   Since 1997, Nevada has been exempt from certain Bank Secrecy Act requirements, under the terms of the Nevada Gaming Commission, in the Memorandum of Agreement (M.O.A.) between the Department of Treasury and the State of Nevada as spelled out under Title 31 of the Federal Regulations.

   Gale added there shouldn’t be a major impact on the new rules in Nevada. The state has until January-February to review and present its own proposals, which could be adopted into the new rule.

   Nevada regulators also hope that the state can be exempt since it already has regulations similar to federal guidelines.

   If, in the event a transaction is of more than $10,000 and is suspicious, Nevada will not only have to file an SARC, but will also have to file a CTRC.

   As long as Nevada casinos have proper records and documentation that are acceptable to the Department of Treasury, state officials hope they won’t be required to file all the extra federal paperwork included in the new regulations.