Caesars fined $8 million over "deficient" money laundering controls

By Martin Green
The U.S. government has fined Caesars Entertainment Corp $8 million for having “severely deficient” measures to prevent money laundering at the VIP rooms at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The operator admitted it had openly allowed high rollers to gamble anonymously in private rooms, the U.S. government said in a written statement.

It agreed to pay an $8 million civil penalty for its “wilful and repeated” violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.

It also admitted it failed to monitor transactions at international marketing offices in Hong Kong and elsewhere that recruited the players.

Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director at the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said: “Caesars knew its customers well enough to entice them to cross the world to gamble and to cater to their every need.

“But, when it came to watching out for illicit activity, it allowed a blind spot in its compliance program. Every business wants to impress its customers, but that cannot come at the risk of introducing illicit money into the U.S. financial system.”

Shasky Calvery thanked the Internal Revenue Service’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division, which performed the examinations of Caesars.

During the period reviewed by the IRS in 2012, Caesars failed to file more than 100 reports on a variety of irregular activities.

A Caesars spokesman said: “The entire Caesars organization is committed to full compliance with the requirements applicable to casinos and to taking effective risk-based measures to prevent and detect money laundering.”

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