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The Building Blocks of an Effective AML Compliance Program

A Q&A with Mark Clayton Carl A. Fornaris, gaming attorneys, Greenberg Traurig LLP

GGB: What are the basics of an effective AML compliance program?

Fornaris: It consists of four key “pillars:” internal controls, such as policies and procedures; a compliance officer; employee training; and an annual independent audit that tests the effectiveness of the AML compliance program. At the heart of the compliance program is the ability to monitor for suspicious transactions and, as appropriate, to report suspicious transactions to regulatory authorities. Enforcement actions against casinos typically result because of the existence of systemic breakdowns in one or more of these pillars.

Clayton: It’s a comprehensive program that is risk-based, meaning the requirements of the program are designed to reasonably detect potential money laundering based on the risk the particular casino could be used for money laundering. A small regional casino with slot machines and a few low-dollar table games is much different than a high-end casino on Las Vegas Boulevard. The two programs would be vastly different, as the risks of money laundering are vastly different.

Further, the program should be able to collect all information regarding a patron, regardless of the source, within the casino, to provide a comprehensive collection of data/transactions that can be used for currency transaction reporting and suspicious activity reporting purposes.

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