Nevada Gaming Regulators Kill Money Laundering Rule

22 September 2006

NEVADA -- Nevada gaming regulators took less than 10 minutes Thursday to eliminate the state's money laundering regulation, saying the rule became obsolete because the federal government had taken over tracking large cash transactions.

In the second and final public hearing on removing Regulation 6A by the Nevada Gaming Commission, no one representing the casino industry addressed the proposed change. However, representatives of several small casinos packed the hearing room at the Sawyer Building to watch the final outcome.

With the change, casinos with $1 million in annual gross gaming revenue will be subject to the same federal reporting requirements as casinos with $10 million in annual gaming revenue, the reporting threshold under Regulation 6A.

"It's appropriate we take this action, but it's also important to note that Regulation 6A has been very valuable and served the state well for a long period of time," Gaming Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard said of the 21-year-old rule.

Under Regulation 6A, state casinos are required to track cash transactions of $3,000 or more and report anyone whose cash transactions exceed $10,000 to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The adoption of the Patriot Act, however, gave Title 31 of the Bank Secrecy Act more teeth and classified casinos as financial institutions. Large cash transactions were then lumped under the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

By eliminating Regulation 6A, the Gaming Control Board said agents working on those matters would be switched to other tasks, such as helping shorten the time the agency's audit division now takes to handle taxation audits.

"I agree that this change will give us more man hours for people to do other important functions," gaming Commissioner Art Marshall said. "If the feds want to (handle money laundering issues), then we're happy to let them do it."

Regulation 6A will remain in effect until June 30.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said the University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Gaming Institute and Internal Revenue Service have been contacted about developing programs to help educate casino audit departments on the new federal requirements.

"We know this is going to be a bit of a burden to some licensees, but we're going to try and make this as smooth a transition as possible," Neilander said.

Through Regulation 6A, Nevada was the only state tracking large cash transactions before the Patriot Act.

If Nevada wanted to keep Regulation 6A on the books, the matter could have become problematic for gaming regulators. The number of casinos reporting under Regulation 6A is 115 and would have increased to 260 if the state mirrored the federal guidelines.

"There just didn't seem to be any benefits for us to keep this regulation on the books," gaming Commissioner Radha Chanderraj said.


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