Registration and reporting guidelines for casinos and other financial service businesses in relation to anti-money laundering and prevention of terrorism financing came into effect in the Philippines on Thursday (January 4).

A release from the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said the “AMLC Registration and Reporting Guidelines” had been filed with the Office of the National Administrative Register at the University of the Philippines Law Center on December 5, to take effect “30 days from publication or on 4 January 2018”.

The registration procedures include requirements for the filing of ‘know your customer’ (KYC) documents to the AMLC in the case of suspicious transactions or transactions by people suspected to be involved in serious crimes such as murder, financing of terrorism or drug trafficking “within five working days”; and the uploading of electronic returns (e-Returns) for “freeze” orders in relation to suspect funds.

In October the AMLC announced that Philippine casinos would be required to make all players present an identity document and would also have to keep records of such customers’ gambling activity for at least five years as part of a new regulatory framework on anti-money laundering for the casino sector.

A set of instructions for casinos operating in the Philippines, known as the “implementing rules and regulations” form part of the country’s amended Anti-Money Laundering Act – a document signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in July – took effect on November 4.

In 2016 the Philippines casino industry made world headlines following the theft allegedly by hackers of US$81 million belonging to the Bangladesh central bank – via an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the United States.

The money was diverted to four accounts at a Rizal Commercial Banking Corp branch in Makati, Metro Manila. Part of the funds were later moved to Philippine casinos, where they mostly disappeared. Of the total that found its way into the Philippine financial system, only approximately US$15 million has so far been returned to Bangladesh, according to media reports.