Money laundering in the casino: methods
There are several main methods that criminals use to launder money. Many groups rely on dividing the deposits into small lots to avoid it being noticed – a practice known as structuring.
Others simply buy chips with cash, spend some time on the casino floor, trying to cash them out as winnings. There are many methods that include the use of letterbox companies to disguise transactions, bank accounts, and people involved. It is an incredibly complex area of finance and one that the authorities are tirelessly fighting to seize and eradicate in all forms.
Casino Money Laundering: What Makes Casinos a Perfect Destination?
Casino gambling is a brilliant way to make money disappear and reappear in separate bank accounts. Of course, the casino industry is taking steps to make this difficult, which we will explain in more detail later in this article.
The casino doesn't have to be involved in the money laundering activity for criminals to be successful, but there have been many in the past. Since there is a black market all over the world, criminals know many casinos and sports betting providers that they can take advantage of to launder their money.
Without the regulatory compliance of the regulated casino industry, this is an uphill battle that the authorities cannot fight alone. There are many well-funded and well-organized criminal groups who persistently try to use casinos for money laundering. Within the casinos themselves there are also many starting points and weak points that can easily be exploited.
Casino staff is one of the greatest risk factors for money laundering as they are often poorly paid administrative staff who can easily be bribed or threatened to help the criminals launder the money . But what makes money laundering in the casino so attractive, in contrast to, for example, offshore mailbox companies or other methods?
The top three reasons for money laundering in casinos
Casinos and sports betting operators have tremendous cash flows that make it easy to place bets in the sea of incoming and outgoing transactions destined for money laundering. It doesn't matter who you are, whether you've been convicted of financial crimes, or where your money is coming from. Most casinos around the world are happy to accept bets from anyone with money to play with.
High rollers are an important source of profit for many casinos – and in order to maintain a good relationship with customers , it often happens that staff ignore suspicious transactions or turn a blind eye. As you can imagine from the statements above, sales and profits are huge motivating factors for the casinos.
It is hard to deny that casinos are powerless when it comes to stopping this activity. Industry regulators, on the other hand, should do more to systematically control customers who raise red flags with suspicious deposit activity.
Industry regulators are certainly already playing a role here, regularly auditing major casino companies around the world and analyzing financial reports for irregularities . It remains to be mentioned that the largest operators also make enough money with legal transactions. So it is more the smaller casinos with less strict rules & supervision that are involved with money launderers. Asia in particular has a longstanding problem with this illegal activity – and a thriving underground gambling industry.
Fighting Money Laundering in the Casino: Regulation
In tightly regulated industries like Europe and North America, casino money laundering is a very minor threat to their operations. The regulators in these areas are very diligent and use a system of law enforcement, technology and other methods to mitigate the problems. In any case, Europe and North America are quite resistant to the risks of exposing themselves to organized crime and are more active in opposing money launderers .
The Asian gaming industry is worth over $ 180 billion annually. Before the market became such a huge part of the local economy, a strong and thriving underground gambling scene was well established. Even now that the interests of the major casino groups are firmly in control of the market, there is still a dark downside.
Certain casinos in Asia are notorious for being linked to the criminal underworld – to a much greater extent than their European counterparts . The yakuza has been proven in the past to be a powerful influence on many gambling operators in Japan, and Southeast Asia has seen several high-profile arrests for game-fixing and money laundering over the past decade.
However, the tide is turning. Many of these casinos have started verifying the identity of their new customers . More importantly, the choice of payment options, from what used to be myriad available, has been reduced to a few, making payments much easier to track. The ability to use different accounts for deposits and withdrawals has made money laundering possible in casinos in the past; ending this practice will go a long way toward clearing up what remains of money laundering in this industry.
Is it game over for money launderers?
Preventing the use of casinos as a vehicle for money laundering is an ongoing battle between law enforcement, criminals and casino operators . In the UK, customer verification procedures are constantly being improved and in its current state the system is very impenetrable. The same is true for much of Europe and North America.
However, the lax approach to financial controls in certain countries still allows the practice of money laundering to remain under the radar. The sums at stake are unimaginable, and they are the hands of powerful illegal gangs who are determined to go on with their business undisturbed. So the fight between criminals and the authorities will definitely continue.
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