During the Pandemic, Money Laundering Continues Through Slot Machines in Australia

December 26, 2020 John Isaac

Despite lockdown from COVID-19, Australian slot machines are up to $305 million from last year, suggesting that criminals were using slots to launder money, according to data from Liquor and Gaming NSW.

Australian Dollars in a Washing MachineAustralian poker machine profits have increased despite a 5-month lockdown that has suspended most operations and closed unnecessary businesses, including casinos.

Sydney Morning Herald and Liquor and Gaming NSW published some figures that show, poker machine profits increased by $305 million, or 10%, over last year. This is despite the blockage that prevented most clubs, pubs, and other licensed establishments from operating and slowed down the flow of visitors.

According to a report published by Liquor and Gaming NSW, poker machines generated $3.1 billion in revenues from $ 2.8 billion a year earlier between June and October. In July, revenue was $581 million, which is 23.3% more than in July 2019.

Gambling Card for Handle Money Laundering Through Slot Machines

Part of this increase in activity is due to criminal activity, the regulator said. The numbers come at a time when the Minister of Customer Relations, Victor Dominello, intends to introduce a gambling card to help address reckless gambling behavior and take action against unregulated markets.

The move met with fierce opposition, with critics arguing that the forced use of a game card could be devastating to licensed businesses that rely on poker machines.

The move comes among wider interrogation mention the name “Crown Resorts” an Australia’s leading casino, which has found itself in a quandary.

Money laundering with poker machines is nothing new, says Independent Spirits and Gaming Authority chairman Philip Crawford, referring to Crown’s operations in Melbourne. The game card will allow the government to track transactions and have more control.

Anyone wanting to play will need to preload their map in the same way that Opal’s public map works. The government claims that some called it too tedious, while others welcomed the move as it would provide more transparency on how and who spends money on gambling.

Money Laundering Related to Human Trafficking, Drugs, and More

“Stopping money laundering through slot machines is not just a matter for the gaming industry,” explains Crawford. He explained that dirty money is associated with the sexual exploitation of children, human trafficking, terrorist financing, and other illegal and deplorable activities. Commenting on the issue, Crawford added the following:

“Poker machines are targeted by criminals because this is a lucrative and simple form of money laundering through the machine,”- added him.

Crawford is a person who feels that the use of technology will identify the responsible parties and prevent rampant money laundering.

Another reason to see the introduction of gaming cards (digital money) is to suspend or reduce or the use of physical currency, which is currently the main theme among Las Vegas casinos that seem to launch cashless technology.

Costello believes that if the decision is implemented, it will immediately put an end to money laundering. Meanwhile, uncharacteristically high numbers continue to appear on slot machines amid the pandemic and the closure.

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