Australia’s pubs and clubs are under the microscope this morning following reports that more than AU$1 billion is being laundered through their poker (slot) machines annually.
The joint report by media outlets The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes – the same group that brought down Crown Resorts and has recently alleged similar concerns around Star Entertainment Group – shows evidence of a money laundering syndicate operating out of pubs and clubs in NSW and Queensland with impunity, in some cases effectively taking over gaming rooms to run their operation.
Around 140 pubs and clubs and 130 gamblers in Sydney alone have been identified as venues of concern, with chief NSW gaming investigator David Byrne noting, “That’s only in the Sydney metro area, that’s not the entire NSW landscape.”
The report, which aired on national television and appeared on Fairfax news sites on Sunday night, included CCTV footage from an undisclosed Sydney pub showing a syndicate working together across multiple machines to launder money without any questions being raised from staff. They included one individual feeding AU$27,000 into two adjacent machines, then betting just $1 on each before withdrawing printed tickets and redeeming the “winnings.”
Another suspect, who had twice been barred from The Star Sydney due to suspicious activity, had instead laundered around AU$38 million in venues along Australia’s east coast over the past five years.
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