Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, will today introduce a Bill to crack down on money laundering in poker machine venues following continued reports of large-scale laundering at venues across the country.
The Bill follows the most recent report in The Australian last month, which alleged a Victorian hotel failed to act on suspicions of money laundering after a pensioner and his family were found to have cashed in over $630,000 in supposed winnings at the hotel between March and August this year.
“This story could well be the tip of the iceberg when it comes the prevalence of money laundering in hotels and clubs,” Nick said.
The most common way to launder money through a poker machine is to load up the machine with a large amount of cash (up to $10,000), play a few games and then cash out the remaining credits.
The Anti-Money Laundering Amendment (Gaming Machine Venues) Bill 2012 will classify any payouts over $1,000 in a gambling venue as a ‘threshold transaction’, instead of the current $10,000 level.
These transactions are reportable to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Australia’s anti-money laundering regulator.
Venues will also be required to pay out winnings over $1000 as cheques.
Senator Xenophon said the Bill would simply plug a loophole in the current legislation.
“AUSTRAC already has regulations in place relating to some forms of gambling, including sports betting and casinos. These additional safeguards are a way to address the inconsistencies in the law, as well as protecting problem gamblers and venue owners.”
Senator Xenophon has also called on the hotel and club industry to declare its support for this Bill.
“The hotels and clubs industry have previously stated they don’t want to accept a cent from problem gamblers, it stands to reason that they wouldn’t want to accept the proceeds of crime either,” Nick said.