10 Sydney pokie venues used in US$710m money laundering racket

A criminal group is believed to have laundered over AU$1bn (US$710m) through poker machines in Australia.
A criminal group is believed to have laundered over AU$1bn (US$710m) through poker machines in Australia.

Police have identified that ten pokies venues in Sydney were used in a massive case of money laundering.

Australia.- It’s been reported that ten pokies venues in Sydney accounted for around 40 per cent of a suspected AU$6m money laundering operation. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, most of the clubs and bars host hundreds of machines, and one has been found to be have been used by money launderers since at least 2014.

The news comes after Australian media reported last week that a criminal group laundered over AU$1bn (US$710m) through games machines, known as poker machines, in Australia’s clubs, pubs and casinos. David Byrne, chief New South Wales gaming investigator told The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes that state and federal authorities found 95,000 poker machines in New South Wales had been used to launder illegal cash.

David Byrne said his team of investigators detected 140 pubs and clubs and over 130 individual gamblers who were associated with money laundering in Sydney alone in the first four weeks after the Covid-19 lockdown ended.

The investigation involved surveillance of CCTV footage from the Tiger Airport site in central Sydney, which captured a money-laundering syndicate. The group had two methods. A small number of people worked on connected gaming machines to find an almost guaranteed jackpot, while another person put banknotes into two poker machines at the same time.

Since January 2018, only 5.5 per cent of pubs and clubs have submitted suspicious transaction reports, but intelligence suggests that number should be higher. The Governor of New South Wales, Dominic Perrottet, is considering the establishment of a Bergin-style inquiry to deal with what the state’s gaming regulator calls the state’s “large-scale” slot machine dirty money problem.

Perrottet said: “The NSW government will work with the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority and stakeholders ensure offenders are caught and prosecuted.”

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