Since casinos have huge amounts of money flowing through their system, criminals target them to launder dirty money. Authorities are always on the lookout for such criminals to prevent a mix up of clean money with illegal money. Casinos are the most hit because they entail the movement of huge sums of money at a fast speed.
The possibility of gambling sites being used as vehicles of changing filthy money into untraceable clean money is high. Plus, the criminals escape having to explain the source of the money. Casino money laundering is an illegal way of cleansing proceeds from crimes. It’s for these reasons that most authorities compel casinos to put up effective controls or risk paying heavy fines.
The Process of Money Laundering explained
Money laundering is the process of getting rid of payments that can be traced back to illegal activities by trading it with clean money. This trade can happen through banks, bars, liquor stores, taxies, casinos, businesses, etc.
Playing in casinos offers opportunities to change money into chips. This cannot happen in a bank. Criminals take advantage of this and invest a lot in casinos.
Since casinos never ask players to state the source of their deposits, it’s difficult to detect crooks. However, it is possible to note suspicious behavior simply by tracking a player’s transaction history.
Stages of money laundering
- Placement – depositing money into a financial system
- Layering – disguising financial transactions to prevent any trails.
- Integration – integrating dirty money with clean money
Money laundering and casinos
Criminals use various methods to launder illegal cash at gambling sites. Below are a few examples.
- Minimal gambling
This is a form of casino money laundering where an individual cashes in a lot of money, plays a few bets only for them to cash out moments later. That way, the person will not incur any loss. Their intent is not to play high stakes games, but to integrate the money into the system. With patience, they can easily get away with it without arousing any suspicions. If ever questioned about the source of the money, they can simply say they are from gambling winnings
It becomes an apparent act of casino money laundering when the customer makes a certain amount of deposits, withdraws everything, and closes the accounts. Most such accounts are registered using aliases making it difficult to trace the real culprit once they close them.
Another money laundering tactic is whereby money is split into chunks and divided among different players. The individuals then deposit the money separately at different casinos. Since they don’t want to get any attention, they open up several betting accounts and make deposits in all of them before emptying these accounts after playing a few bets.
Identifying one criminal is simple. However, when the sinister activity involves a cartel distributed across various casinos, discovering such moves is a daunting task. They work like a web interconnected making it difficult to link one person to the other. Secondly, transactions may appear legitimate because the volumes of amounts deposited and withdrawn aren’t so high. They’ve reduced them to reasonable amounts.
The situation is worsened by the fact that we have numerous gambling sites operating without licenses. Whether the betting sites are licensed or not, transactions in and out of accounts are imminent. Players must make deposits before placing bets and have the right to withdraw when it translates to wins.
The main differences between casino money laundering and standard money laundering.
Statistics show that there is a large percentage of illegal money changing hands all year long. There aren’t many differences between laundering through gambling and the standard process. When it’s through gambling, detecting it is harder because the money attains a degree of legitimacy. Even if the criminals were to lose the bet, they only play a small percentage of their stash. Their main agenda is to withdraw the money, not play and win.
How industries are combating casino money laundering
To counter these illegal acts, gambling sites have put up measures to help identify any money laundering activities and forward the report to the authorities. They have to verify their players and keep trail records of deposits.
Authorities have tightened their restrictions prompting gambling sites to be more diligent or risk losing their licenses. They may also be required to pay huge fines if they are sloppy in handling money-laundering suspects. Improper checks allow criminals to sneak in.
How Cryptocurrency limit money laundering
Most online casinos are now accepting cryptocurrencies hence proving to be a challenge for criminals as liquidating crypto-assets isn’t easy. Most of them will avoid using this method.
Micro laundering through games
The process of micro-laundering is similar to money laundering. Some criminals opt for role-playing games that involve multiple players. The three main steps of micro laundering include;
- Purchase of credits using stolen cards
- Opening a shop on the credits-selling site
- Once a buyer purchases the credits, the illegal money becomes clean.
Since the process is super-fast, spotting such activities is extremely hard.
The future of online gambling
All businesses that offer legitimate gambling operations are obliged to take legal responsibilities since these areas and laws in place to deal with money laundering cases. The success of gambling depends on them being more credible. If they can adhere to the rules, cases of money laundering will not be rampant.
Money laundering has revolutionized as more and more criminals are now moving onto casinos and online gambling sites. They use illegally earned cash to place a few sure bests and disguise it as genuine gambling winnings. On the face, it may seem easy to detect casino money laundering activities, but tracing them is tricky. Since the problem has escalated, it cannot be ignored and authorities are working hand in hand with casino owners to curb the menace. They have set guidelines for companies to follow and report suspected laundering.