Singapore Casinos to Implement Stricter Cash Transaction Rules

Singapore casinos implementing stricter cash transaction rules
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Singapore Casinos to Implement Stricter Cash Transaction Rules

Singapore is set to tighten its regulations on casino cash transactions in an effort to combat terrorism financing and money laundering, as announced by the island nation’s Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) on Monday. The new measures will lower the threshold for reporting cash deposits to S$4K (US$3K) from the current S$5K (US$3.6K). This new threshold is significantly stricter than the US standard, where transactions of US$10K or more trigger a currency transaction report (CTR).

Enhanced Due Diligence

Singapore is home to two major casino complexes: Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, which together form Asia’s second-largest gaming market after Macau. The GRA’s decision to lower the reporting threshold follows a record fine of S$2.25 million (US$1.7 million) imposed on Resorts World Sentosa in December 2023 for failing to perform adequate due diligence on cash transactions exceeding the S$5K threshold.

The GRA’s enhanced regulations align with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards. FATF is an intergovernmental organization focused on combatting global money laundering. The GRA has indicated that these changes will be implemented within the year, although an exact date has not been specified.

National Strategy for Countering Terrorism Financing

The updated National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism, released Monday, outlined several new measures against money laundering. Singapore’s status as an international financial, business, and transport hub makes it particularly vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing. The report highlighted threats from Jihadist groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Jemaah Islamiah, as well as self-radicalized individuals and far-right extremists.

Recent Incidents and Responses

While actual terrorist attacks on Singapore soil are rare, there have been foiled plots, including a 2021 attempt by a radicalized national serviceman to attack a local synagogue and a plot by a far-right extremist to target a mosque. More recently, Singapore was rocked by the revelation of a money laundering network involving Chinese nationals who moved at least US$2.2 billion through the country’s banking system. This network used Singapore bank accounts to hold proceeds from overseas scams and illegal online gambling, later converting these funds into luxury real estate, cars, and jewelry. This incident has prompted a review of banking regulations in the city-state.

Implications for Casinos

The introduction of stricter cash transaction rules is expected to enhance Singapore’s efforts to prevent its financial systems from being exploited by criminal and terrorist elements. By lowering the reporting threshold and aligning with international standards, Singapore aims to bolster its defenses against money laundering and terrorist financing, ensuring the integrity of its financial and gaming sectors.