A secret investigation by authorities into gaming transactions at pubs and clubs cites possible links between staff and money laundering by organised criminals, and forbodes a shakeup of the Anti-Money Laundering system.
The investigation was conducted by NSW Liquor & Gaming, the NSW Crime Commission and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, on behalf of ILGA (Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority), and is said to have discovered hundreds of gaming machine transactions it deems ‘suspicious’.
News of the report, understood to be highly confidential and published by the Daily Telegraph, is said to have concluded there was “little doubt” that EGMs were used by crime groups for money laundering on a large scale.
The report detailed six avenues of “analysis and investigations” regarding what they believe could be facilitating money laundering operations.
One recommendation is for a review of staff authorised to work in pub and club gambling areas, holding a Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) certification.
It is thought this could lead to the “successful detection of venue infiltration” by the criminals.
Other recommendations included analysis of gaming data from The Star and Crown Casino, expanding the investigation into regional venues, and investigating possible links through lawyers, accountants or real estate agents.
The initiative comes in the wake of figures finding online gaming in Sydney and Melbourne increased up to 329 per cent during the 2020 lockdown, and increased again in 2021.
Ben Franklin, Arts Minister and Upper House representative for Hospitality & Racing Minister Kevin Anderson, played down the leaked report – but warned an ILGA and NSW Crime Commission joint inquiry into AML (Anti-Money Laundering) is already underway in hotels and clubs, and that it will have teeth.
“That inquiry will pay particular reference to the use of electronic gaming machines and will identify potential vulnerabilities within the regulations and the legislation governing gaming machines, which could be exploited for the purpose of money laundering,” said Franklin.