An investigation has revealed that billions of dollars could have been laundered in poker machines in New South Wales pubs and clubs. AU$95 billion flows through poker machines in the Australian state every year; an easy method to clean dirty money.
Billions of Aussie Dollars Laundered in Poker Machines
Although the investigation by the NSW Crime Commission (NCC) is sure proceeds of crime are being laundered through poker machines, there is little evidence to prove the exact amount.
Commissioner Michael Barnes pointed out that poker machines are one of the last remaining methods for criminals to wash their ill-gotten gains.
Barnes told the media:
“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.”
“The lack of traceable data collected by EGMs [poker machines] means the exact scale of this criminal activity is impossible to determine but it is clear from our investigations it involves many billions of dollars every year.”
Reforms are now being planned to block this avenue for organised crime figures to skirt around the law freely, including mandatory cashless gaming cards and enhanced data collection from gaming machines.
#ClubsNSW says a #CrimeCommision recommendation for cashless gaming cards to stop billions in criminal money going through the pokies would amount to a “police state.” What do you think? My report for @10NewsFirst pic.twitter.com/t0f6ffc9or
— Hugh Riminton (@hughriminton) October 26, 2022
$5,000 a Pop
Modern poker machines in New South Wales, Australia, have had a $5,000 load up limit since 2020 with older machines sometimes as high as $9,999.
But because depositing into the machines is anonymous, all a gambler must do to withdraw seemingly legitimate winnings is place a $5 bet and then redeem the remaining $4,995. Incredibly simple and untraceable for criminals.
There is currently no requirement for machines to track funds deposited, wagered or lost during play.
The gaming machine ticket is then as good as proof that all winnings are legitimate.
Billions of dollars of “dirty” money is churned through NSW pokies at pubs and clubs every year, an inquiry found, sparking calls for widespread reform. https://t.co/Bl4W6Pqw1l
— Financial Review (@FinancialReview) October 26, 2022
Commissioner Barnes added:
“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.”
Although the NSW Crime Commission found that this method of laundering money is “high risk and inefficient”, they insisted that large amounts of money were still being gambled by more minor criminals “rewarding and perpetuating” crime.
The Australian Hotels Association of NSW (AHA NSW) is determined to fight back, claiming that the suggested changes would be “unjustified overreach” and further harming an industry that has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said:
“This is the type of misguided, sledgehammer approach which has resulted in past ‘policy on the run’ failures like the ill-fated greyhound ban and the now infamous lockout laws which crippled Sydney’s night-life for years.”
But he did indicate support for a lower load up limit.
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