By federal law, all financial institutions—including banks, credit unions, securities firms, and casinos—must report both large currency transactions and suspicious monetary transactions. These regulations, promulgated under the authority of the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, aim to help federal authorities detect, deter and prevent criminal activity, especially money laundering. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an arm of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, administers these regulations.
Since March 25, 2003, casinos have been required to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) when the casino knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that a transaction (or a group of related transactions) involving $5,000 or more meets one of the following descriptions:
- Involves funds derived from illegal activity or is intended to conceal funds derived from illegal activity;
- Is intended to avoid or prevent the filing of a Currency Transaction Report for Casinos (CTRC);
- Has no apparent business or other lawful purpose;
- Is not the type normally expected from that particular customer; or
- Involves the use of the casino to facilitate criminal activity.
Casinos need not file SARs for ordinary robberies that are otherwise reported to local law enforcement authorities, and may not inform a patron when they file a SAR about that patron’s activities. The AGA’s Suspicious Activity Reporting Policy addresses SAR compliance questions.
In addition to SARs, casinos are required to file Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) to report a cash transaction (or related group of transactions in a single gaming day) exceeding $10,000. This federal regulation, which has been in place since 1985, also assists law enforcement agencies in combating illegal activity such as money laundering. The Department of the Treasury has directed that CTRs need not be filed for jackpots paid out by gaming machines, and has applauded the resulting reduction in unnecessary CTR filings. http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/nr/pdf/20081222.pdf.
Federal auditors review casino SAR and CTR filings and compliance programs on a periodic basis and can recommend the imposition of civil or criminal penalties for failures to file.