PAGCOR Releases New Guide for Casinos to Assess Fitness of Junket Operator
- The new guidelines will help casinos in assessing the suitability of junket operators
- PAGCOR addresses three key areas of concern
- This new guide focuses on strengthening AML/CFT laws in the Philippines
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) have released a new set of guidelines to help land-based casinos in their obligation to properly assess junket operators before transacting with them.
The “Casino Guide for a Fitness and Proprietary Assessment for Junket Operators V1.0” was established to make sure casinos only deal with suitable junket operators based on three main areas – Reputation, Honesty and Integrity, Financial Soundness and Competence and Capability.
PAGCOR added that the new guide is also aimed at strengthening their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
Under the new guidelines, casinos must ensure that the individuals running the junkets have not had any convictions or indictments in the past for dishonesty, fraud, theft, money laundering, breach of trust, terrorist financing, proliferation financing, or financial crimes.
Casinos must also look into their bankruptcy background – whether they have filed for bankruptcy or been declared bankrupt, or if a bankruptcy petition had been filed against them. Casinos must also investigate whether they have outstanding debts in the Philippines or elsewhere.
Land-based casinos must also see to it that persons with principal roles in junkets have undergone relevant training according to their respective functions and have demonstrated that they are fit to carry out their roles.
The guide applies to all individuals with key positions, those with controlling interest, as well as people who exercise power or discharge certain major responsibilities on behalf of the junket operator and its key persons.
Casinos should ensure all areas are assessed and junket operators meet all of the requirements before entering into any contract or agreement with them. Individuals involved in junket operations must also remain fit and proper at all times. If the casinos notice any change in circumstances, it must be reported promptly to PAGCOR.
Philippines Still on “Grey List”
The new guidance follows an earlier document released in January by the regulator which required probity checks on persons associated with junket operators, including the management, members of the board, senior officials, and major shareholders.
In June 2021, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) listed the Philippines among jurisdictions under enhanced monitoring concerning the risk of financial crimes. The country has remained on that grey list ever since. The FATF acknowledged though that the Philippine government had already implemented measures to improve its AML/CFT controls.