Money Laundering Issues Continue to Plague Casinos

It’s not just a modern myth or a story that makes for interesting movie plots and dramatic police procedurals; casinos have long been plagued by money-laundering schemes. Compared to other industries, exchanging dirty money for chips and then chips for clean money is almost trivial as a means of laundering ill-gotten funds — even with modern technology working to undermine such efforts, it still remains highly viable for the criminally inclined. And while some may shrug their shoulders and suggest that the responsibility lays with police agencies, casinos face real consequences from this seemingly unsolvable problem.

gamblingGlobal banks are seeing fierce pressure from the United States and other governments to act against casino laundering activities, pressure that banks pass along to their client institutions in the gambling industry. Errors in enforcement of these laws can cost casino operators big and the new attention from banks makes those errors all the more likely to be noticed — and punished. Just last year, the U.S. Department of Justice fined the Las Vegas Sands Corp. almost $50 million for various errors in money-laundering policies.

Even institutions not directly exposed to the heightened focus on casino money laundering by the United States will likely find themselves facing harder questions from international banks working under pressure from the U.S. Understanding the potential threats of money laundering, how to avoid errors, and what can be done to meet all legal and financial obligations in the face of constantly evolving criminal conspiracies will only become more important as the push against money laundering grows.

Of course, little of this is likely to affect the average gambler. At worst, the push for stricter, more cautious observation may add a few hoops to jump through when cashing in or cashing out, but daily gambling will likely see little change — unless casinos decide to pass along their losses to the customer.