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Goa Casinos to keep a watch on VVIPs

Politicians, judges, military officers and PSU heads who have gambling instincts, Beware!.

Panaji: Politicians, judges, military officers and PSU heads who have gambling instincts, Beware!.

Guidelines issued by the Goa government under a notification makes it mandatory for casinos to carry out special checks on the Politically Exposed Person (PEP) and keeping certain identified sections of people under the scanner.

"PEP is an individual who is or has been representing prominent public functions in a foreign country, head of states or of governments, senior politicians, senior judicial or military officers, senior executive of state-owned corporations or important political party official," according to the notification.

The anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism guidelines, 2013 unveiled by the Home Ministry yesterday are aimed at keeping a strict check on casinos operating in the tourist states so that they do not indulge in illegal money transactions.

An estimated 24 lakh tourists including four lakh from abroad visited Goa last year. Casinos in the coastal state are hugely popular with tourists.
The guidelines makes it mandatory for the casino operators to know the identity of the customer and source of the person`s money before he or she is allowed to gamble by putting KYC (Know Your Customer) norms in place.

It will also be now compulsory for the casino operators to report a financial transaction of more than Rs 10 lakh to the financial intelligence unit of the Union Government.

All the relevant data related to customers should be compulsorily preserved for at least 10 years, the notification said.

Goa has four off-shore casinos currently operating in Mandovi river alongside Panaji city while a dozen on-shore ones are located at various five-star hotels.

Officials said the objective of the guidelines is to prevent casinos from being used, intentionally or unintentionally, by criminal elements for money laundering or terrorist financing activities.