Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) – New Business Plan?

Posted by Lynn Eisler December 18, 2014 0 Comment 1086 views

Questions have often been raised about the activities of casino operators, especially about their involvement in money laundering practices. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) is among the U.S. casino operators that have been spotlighted by the government because of money laundering issues. However, a major development has taken place in the casino industry that should now keep operators and regulators calm.

AGA on casino guidelines

Recently, an association of that represents the gaming industry published a set of guidelines. The best-practices are aimed at helping members to address money laundering issues and other financial irregularities that might take place in their establishments. The guidelines were released by the American Gaming Association (AGA). They target online gaming sites and traditional casinos. The best-practice guidelines were created by AGA in conjunction with a government agency known as Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

The publication of best-practices guideline was the first-ever and perhaps the boldest move to bolster transparency in the gaming industry. Among other issues, the guidelines address how casinos can identify red flags and prevent money laundering activities so that they remain in compliance with the money laundering laws.

Illicit financial activities

It has been established that not all casino patrons are out to seek entertainment when they visit casino establishments. Some have been noted to use the opportunity provided by gambling houses to transfer illicit wealth.  Such illegal activities not only taint the image of casinos thereby hurting their business, but also expose them to heightened government surveillance that may disrupt their normal operations.

With the release of the best-practices, casinos have taken a bold step to protect themselves from illicit trades while also bolstering cooperation with the regulators. More importantly, the integrity of the gaming industry will, hopefully, now be restored.

Within the past two years, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), Caesars Entertainment Corp (NASDAQ:CZR) are some of the casino companies that have come under money laundering investigations. Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) is another casino company that is being tracked by the government over money laundering suspicions. However, calm is expected to return in the companies now that there are guidelines to help them avoid suspicious activities.

Disruption of business

Issues with increased government surveillance and crack down on money laundering are not just facing casino operators in the U.S. alone. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) and its multinational peers have also faced challenges in China, where the government cracked down on illicit money activities in the Chinese gambling capital of Macau. Casinos there counted reduced business as wealth customers stayed away from gambling halls.

About Lynn Eisler

Lynn Eisler is a national news reporter focusing on economic issues, data analysis and the financial health of state and local governments. Lynn has been honored with the H.L. Mencken Award for Investigative Reporting, the Champion of Justice Award for reporting on the drug war, and the John Hancock Award for business reporting. Lynn was also a Knight Medical School Fellow at the University of Michigan.

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