ILGA calls for probe into money laundering via slot machines

A criminal group laundered over AU$1bn (US$710m) through gaming machines.
A criminal group laundered over AU$1bn (US$710m) through gaming machines.

Philip Crawford, ILGA’s chairman, has called for an investigation into money laundering using slot machines in NSW pubs and clubs.

Australia.- After revelations that a criminal group laundered over AU$1bn (US$710m) through pokies in Australia’s clubs, pubs and casinos, Philip Crawford, ILGA’s chairman has said a public inquiry is needed. Crawford has sent a letter to the NSW government saying that gambling activities at clubs and bars in the state should be subject to the same kind of public investigation as Crown Resorts’ activities in 2020.

The chairman of ILGA also expressed his dissatisfaction with the current law, which makes him responsible for the oversight of illegal actions in casinos while preventing him from doing the same to non-gaming establishments. He said the New South Wales Government should be given more powers and initiate supervision of non-gaming businesses.

Crawford said there was a legislative gap that distinguishes the state government’s gambling regulation of large casinos with thousands of slot machines from the regulation of non-gaming establishments, which operate 95,000 slot machines across the state. He said criminal organizations were using the gap to carry out money laundering.

David Byrne, chief NSW gaming investigator, 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. It was reported that ten pokies venues in Sydney accounted for around 40 per cent of a suspected AU$6m money laundering operation.

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