A proposed bill amending the Anti-Money Laundering Act will set P5 million as the threshold for a single casino transaction, a congressional leader said on Sunday.
Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, chairman of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, made the clarification in connection with the approval of House Bill (HB) 5663.
“If you go to a casino and bought P5 million worth of chips in a single transaction, that’s a red flag that must be reported by the casino to the AMLC [Anti-Money Laundering Council]. Yes, P5 million is the threshold but if there is a pattern, like if I bring P1 million today, then P2 million tomorrow, and so on… that pattern must also be reported to the AMLC,” Evardone said in a radio interview.
“You can’t use such pattern of breaking down the threshold amount as an excuse because that will be evading the law. It’s the same for banks. P500,000 single transaction is the threshold but if you deposit P100,000, then P200,000 and P200,000 in consecutive days, that’s a pattern. That’s a red flag,” he added.
Evardone called on casino owners to strengthen their customer identification system and background check on their clients.
“Even if you don’t reach P500,000, as long as there is a pattern, that transaction must be reported. The same goes for the casinos,” he said.
“As it is, casinos just require passport for identification. It should be more than that. Pagcor should have a regulation in place for that. You can’t know everything about your customer just thru a passport,” Evardone added, referring to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp..
Evardone was supposed to be the head of Pagcor.