Australian Money Laundering Group Washed AU$1Bn on Poker Machines

By | November 30, 2021

The Australian media outlets that cover the latest financial news, as well as national television, have reported on the major money-laundering case that took place in the local casino, clubs, and pubs with games machines.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 60 Minutes, and The Age magazines have presented the evidence that a criminal group has washed more than AU$1 billion through poker machines, or pokies.

Over 95k gaming machines served as laundromats

The money launderers operated in the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. In the Sydney metropolitan area alone, around 140 venues and 130 players were associated with the case. And in the South Whales, the chief gaming investigator of the region, David Byrne, and his team have found out that 95 000 poker machines were used to launder significant sums of money.

The investigation team has also obtained CCTV footage from the pub in Sydney, which captured criminals using poker machines to launder illegal cash. The tape shows a person inserting AU$27k into two gaming machines and then wagering AU$1 on each automat and redeeming their winnings. The workers of the pub had no issue with the customer. This may be the main method of the organization, with the number of people working to discover a jackpot on the gaming machines before inserting the cash.

Investigators believe that small venues are the main targets of the Australian money launderers, as they have a smaller number of employees who lack training in anti-money laundering and social responsibility. Plus, the vast number of gambling machines in the country, lack of funds, and time shortage make it harder for the inspectors to investigate the cases properly.

The research also discloses that Australian lobby groups – ClubsNWS and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) – have curtailed attempts to address the issue in the past. 

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