FinCEN director says casinos play a key role in fighting financial crimes

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) director Kenneth A. Blanco believes casinos have a key role to play when it comes to preventing financial crimes.

He made this clear when speaking at the Annual Las Vegas Anti-Money Laundering Conference on Tuesday 13, 2019.

He began by highlighting that technology had changed a lot over the past few years. “Casinos and card clubs know as well as any financial institution the important role technology can play in detecting and reporting financial crimes,” he said in his prepared remarks. “Indeed, they have explicit pillars in their AML program rule requiring the use of all available information and automated data processing systems to aid in ensuring compliance with the BSA.”

Blanco also encouraged casinos to carefully consider how to integrate mobile sport betting games into their anti-money laundering (AML) programs after the US Supreme Court legalized sport betting in 2018. “FinCEN expects that your casino or card club is monitoring your sports betting programs for potentially suspicious activity,” his prepared remarks stated. “This includes offering sports betting through a mobile app.”

He also stated that their compliance could have effects even outside of casinos. He pointed out that by using data from six casinos, DEA agents were able to seize over 2,500 kilograms of cocaine, 25 kilograms of heroin and 8.5 kilograms of methamphetamines. Moreover, it led to the seizure of $5.5m in currency and assets, including a $750,000 airplane.

“Make no mistake: the work you are doing makes a profound difference in peoples’ lives,” Blanco continued. “The information provides leads, helps expand cases, identifies networks of criminals and other bad actors, and often helps to alert the regulatory and law enforcement communities to trends in illicit activity, making our communities safer – it protects our families from harm.”

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