WASHINGTON - The government this week announced plans to apply anti- money-laundering regulations to Indian tribal casinos.
The proposed regulations are being issued under the Bank Secrecy Act, the Treasury Department's main tool for fighting financial crimes.
"Money launderers and tax evaders continue to look for new ways to hide their money," said Stanley E. Morris, director of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. "Casinos are cash intensive, and many offer a wide variety of financial services, similar to banks.
"Without effective regulations, they may be vulnerable to money laundering."
More than $27 billion was wagered at 120 tribal casinos in 16 states last year, according to Fincen. Tribal casinos in another eight states are expected to open in the coming year.
"With the tremendous growth of Indian gaming, the time is right for the industry to adopt money-laundering controls," Mr. Morris said.
Like banks, state-licensed casinos already must adhere to the Bank Secrecy Act.
The National Indian Gaming Association, a trade group representing about half of the tribal casinos, supports the proposal.