FATF Gives Cambodia Suggestions To Prevent Money Laundering At Casinos

FATF Gives Cambodia Suggestions To Prevent Money Laundering At Casinos November 5, 2019 November 5, 2019 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry November 5, 2019 by Carolyn Dutton
financial action task force

The FATF (Financial Action Task Force), a global financial agency based in Paris, France recently announced that Cambodia remains on their watch list due to money laundering risks that arise from the country’s casino sector.

These risks hinders the country’s drive to prevent and combat the financing of terrorism.

As part of the announcement, the meeting between FATF officials and Cambodia’s authorities earlier this year was reviewed and both party agreed that strengthening of strategies on anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT) is of paramount importance.

FATF has continued to regulate Cambodia’s real estate and casino sectors both offsite and onsite.

FATF has given Cambodian authorities ten suggestions that will help them with their efforts to plug all loopholes and prevent money laundering from taking place at its casinos.  They have provided a ten point to do list comprising of a number of useful suggestions that will help Cambodia fight money laundering. 

Some of these suggestions include the implementation of risk-based supervision and the conduction of sector specific outreach for the casino industry. They also encourage the improvement of law enforcement training, improved laws to strengthen the country’s legal framework on AML and the enhancement of regulatory analysis of suspicious transaction reports.

Challenges in Cambodia’s Casino Regulation

A study released in July by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, claims that the Southeast Asia casino sector offers crime syndicates an easy channel for money to be laundered. Most of this illegal money comes from drug trafficking and can be washed at Cambodia’s casinos due to lack of stringent law enforcement and weak AML laws.  

There has been a push for a number of years for Cambodia to change its gaming regulations and make things a lot stricter. Currently, Cambodian authorities issue casino licenses and the terms for the license on a case to case basis. There were reports in local newspapers during 2014 which stated that legislators had put forward a draft casino gambling law. However, there have been no more updates about this proposed gambling legislation till date. 

Sihanoukville: Where Anything Goes

The most popular gambling destination in Cambodia is Sihanoukville. There has been a lot of news coverage on the thriving casino scene in Sihanoukville which is reported to have 91 licensed casino operators out of a total of 163 casino licenses. Chinese gamblers flock to Sihanoukville and play at these casinos which do not follow any AML laws and are prime targets for money laundering

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world