Criminal Threat Increase Causes Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Group to Call for Better Regulation

The Anti-Money Laundering Council of the Philippines (AMLC) is warning the region about an increased threat level due to money laundering and additional criminal activity within the online gaming industry. The group claims that unregulated and unsupervised providers of services are part of the problem.

New Study

The AMLC announced a number of issues after releasing their latest study on online casinos this week. The group has an issue with Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) mainly with how service providers are operating.

Reportedly, the study found that while the AMLC was completing onsite compliance checks within the gambling industry, the number of local agents and authorized individuals for the Philippines fell short. There are regulations in place that require a local agent be onsite to provide documentation during gaming operations application processes.

Major Issues

The AMLC is reporting that they were unable to find any compliance officers for POGOs at all of the addresses provided. Service providers were actually unaware as to if any actually existed. The visited POGOs did not have any compliance units in place to handle counter-terrorism financing or anti-money laundering needs.

Last year, local authorities in the Philippines shut down close to 200 online casinos and service providers, those who were illegally providing service options.

At the same time, the local government stopped the operations of a large service provider for online gaming as the provider was found to be connected to a person involved in an anti-money laundering investigation associated with a bank heist in Bangladesh.

The Council is now calling for a better collective strategy with concrete actions regarding service providers. They want to see better anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing supervision as well as better regulations in place for service providers and POGO. They also feel that licenses of POGOs should be reevaluated and better cooperation with enforcement agencies consider

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