Leagues clubs back blanket bans of money launderers

March 14, 2023
Aleney De Winter

In the aftermath of the NSW Crime Commission finding that billions of illegal dollars were flowing through pokies, Leagues Club Australia chief executive Don Hammond has spoken out regarding the damaging public inquiry. 

The NSW Crime Commission called for a massive overhaul on gaming, with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet pledging to adopt all recommendations under a re-elected Liberal government, a measure some industry groups oppose. 

Hammond, however, speaking at Regulating the Game, a prestigious conference designed to advance thinking and discussion around best practice gambling regulation, said Leagues Clubs would welcome police issuing blanket bans on suspected money launderers.

“We already do it at racetracks and casinos. Clubs and pubs would be very happy if the criminals could be told not to go into licensed premises,” he said.

While Leagues clubs represent a minority of poker machine venues, Hammond said that the industry was shocked to learn the extent of the issue of laundering. Leagues clubs would welcome the power for clubs to prevent money laundering through gaming, even in clubs that were not previously aware of its occurrence.

Tahli Blicblau, Director of Strategic Intelligence and Capabilities at the NSW Crime Commission, also spoke at the conference. He suggested that before October’s finding there had been intelligence gaps, and that the industry couldn’t have known the extent of the problem within venues, though there were blatant cases of money laundering that should have been picked up by venue staff.

Hammond said these cases represented a tiny minority of Leagues Club venues, but the industry wanted to be proactive in preventing money laundering from occurring at places that were not previously thinking about it happening.

“We’re more than happy to work with authorities. They know who the criminals are, so they can tell them they’ve been warned off licensed premises.”

Image: Erik McLean

Tags

bans, Leagues clubs, money laundering, pokies


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