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Bloomberry willing to report deals to AMLA

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Bloomberry Resorts Corp. chairman and chief executive Enrique Razon Jr. said Thursday he is in favor of including casinos in the list of institutions required to report suspicious transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

Razon, however, said the threshold for reporting transactions for casinos should be higher compared with those of banks and other covered institutions.

“Absolutely, the problem with casinos and the banks [is that] the threshold has to be different. If we stick to the present threshold, we will report everybody who comes to the casinos,” Razon said in an interview at the sidelines of the annual stockholders’ meeting of International Container Terminal Services Inc. Razon is also the chairman of ICTSI.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, all covered institutions must report transactions involving more than P500,000 to the AMLC.

“AMLA is [there] just to protect from people who are doing things that are not legal. We don’t want those people here anyway,” Razon said.

The government is strongly pushing for the inclusion of casinos among the covered institutions following an $81-million money laundering scandal that used banks and casinos as conduits.

Razon said casino was not a good venue for money laundering activities.

“It’s not recommended, but if you are laundering money, don’t do it in the casino because the casino will make you play the entire amount at least once. So if you lose it all, you will lose what you laundered. It’s not the place to do it. In fact it’s the worst place [for laundering],” Razon said.

Meanwhile, Razon said he expected Bloomberry to return to profit this year after it posted a net loss of P3.37 billion in 2015 .

“Outlook is far better this year because we’ve cleaned up all the problem accounts. It should be positive this year because of much lower cost and no more bad accounts and bad debt and more revenues,” Razon said.

He, however, said competition was expected to intensify over the next two to three years, with the opening of more casinos within the Pagcor Entertainment City.

“The market is not growing but supply is growing faster than the market,” Razon said.

Two major casinos are currently operating within the Pagcor Entertainment City, including Solaire Resorts & Casino of Bloomberry and City of Dreams Manila of Melco Crown and Belle Corp.

Two more casinos are slated to open. These are Westside City of Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. and Manila Bay Resorts of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada.


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