Pokies are Safe Havens for Criminals to Clean Dirty Money – Says NSW Crime Commission
According to findings of a multi-agency investigation released by the NSW Crime Commission, pubs and clubs aren’t doing enough to prevent criminals from using poker machines to launder money.
The poker machines, according to NSW Crime Commissioner Michael Barnes, are the ultimate “safe havens” for fraudsters to clean money. “At the moment serious offenders can enter NSW pubs and clubs, sit down next to patrons in gaming rooms, and openly feed large sums of cash from their crimes into poker machines with no real fear of detection,” Barnes stated.
Michael Barnes claimed that since traceable information was not gathered, it was difficult to pinpoint the scale.“But it is clear from our investigations it involves many billions of dollars every year,” he said.
“It is a deeply concerning peculiarity that in the largely cashless digital economy in which we live that gambling in NSW pubs and clubs remains a $95 billion a year information black hole.”
According to the analysis, NSW is Australia’s pokies capital due to the billions of dollars that pass through the machines each year. The findings suggest training for the industry in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Funding (CFT) laws and compliance, enhanced data gathering, the elimination of potential money launderers, and digital gaming cards.
The suggestions basically equate to fundamental reforms that would stop huge sums of money—mostly the revenues of medication sales—from being fed into automated systems. “I’m sure venues won’t argue they should keep receiving that,” Barnes stated.
According to the analysis, money laundering using pokies is uncommon and ineffective for large-scale money laundering by criminals. Josh Landis, the CEO of ClubsNSW, seized upon that finding. According to him, this debunks claims that the business enables criminal organizations to launder substantial quantities of money and defends clubs as well as their personnel. “This is the finding that our not-for-profit member clubs expected,” Landis said.
ClubsNSW made a number of suggestions, he said, including enhancing risk management procedures and restricting criminals from locations. “We believe this measure, together with the introduction of facial recognition technology announced by clubs and pubs last week, will make it near impossible for a criminal to enter a club in the future,” Landis said.