Poker Machines Being Preyed by Criminals Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

During the five months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a growth of 305 USD in profits of poker machines. Experts say that this sudden increase is due to the spike in money laundering activity and it has developed the need for gambling cards. 

The report by Liquor and Gaming NSW has revealed that the profit has increased ten percent from its prior-year even after the restrictions of lockdown on clubs. 

$3.1 billion of profit has increased from June to October making it a 23.3 percent increase alone in July. 

Victor Dominello, the minister for Customer Victor, has recommended an introduction of gambling cards to completely eliminate money laundering and answer the gambler problem. 

Now gambling is to operate the same way as public transport’s Opal cards. It would be best if the poker machines become cashless. The gamblers will have to register before pre-loading the funds into the card. 

Philip Crawford, the Chair of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority expressed his view that money laundering due to the machines has been a problem before and it was brought up in Crown’s operations inquiry in Melbourne. 

Mr. Crawford highlighted that money laundering is connected with a lot of other criminal activities, “drugs, child sexual exploitation, people trafficking, and financing terrorism. Poker machines get targeted by criminal elements because they are a simple and cost-effective way of money laundering by washing cash through a machine. Any reasonable steps that can be taken to reduce money laundering in NSW, including the use of technology, should be seriously considered by the government and by industry.”

A gambling card will also benefit the swipe economy that has reduced the use of cash-related transactions, especially during the pandemic.