Singapore’s Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) has imposed a hefty US$1.67 million fine on gambling operator Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) for failing to conduct necessary customer due diligence checks, as required by regulations. This decision came after the completion of a customer review process that was requested from RWS and Marina Bay Sands in 2020.
During this review process, it was revealed that RWS had conducted some transactions that were non-compliant with the due diligence requirements outlined in the Casino Control Act 2006 and the Casino Control (Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing) Regulations 2009. As a result, the GRA conducted further investigations to uncover the root cause of these regulatory failures.
The investigation found that RWS had failed to perform mandatory due diligence checks in transactions between RSW employees and third parties totaling US$3,730. It was reported that the operator’s staff collected this amount to make deposits on RSW customer accounts but failed to record the identity of these third-party creditors, as required by regulations.
The regulator attributed these failures to “system failures” in the operator’s control procedures, which led to the non-compliant activities going undetected. Despite this, the GRA noted that RWS took prompt action to improve its processes and engaged an independent party to review their standard operating procedures. They also indicated that RWS had undertaken a review of its corporate culture with a view to strengthening its internal controls and corporate governance.
In response to the allegations, RWS stated that there was no evidence of criminal offenses or money laundering and therefore, they believe that no police involvement is required. The operator emphasized their commitment to upholding high regulatory compliance standards and stated that they have since taken remedial actions, including implementing technology enhancements to processes and intensifying employee training.
The GRA stated that the employees involved in the breaches had special licenses granted for casino-related functions, which have now been canceled. They continue to investigate other employees and emphasized that they take a serious view of such lapses, indicating a willingness to take disciplinary action against errant casino operators.
Despite the US$1.67 million fine, RWS stated that it will not have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets and earnings per share of the Group for the financial year ending 31 December 2023. The operator reiterated its commitment to collaborating closely with the GRA to ensure that its business and operations are consistently conducted in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.