A Greens motion condemning money laundering via poker machines and calling on the Government to urgently prioritise the development of measures that will stamp out the practice passed the NSW Legislative Council with agreement by all parties late last night.
“It’s estimated that 20 percent of poker machine turnover is related to organised crime. That means in 2014 to 2015 when the pokies saw $73.3 billion pumped through them in NSW, a staggering $14.66 billion could be contributed to criminal activity,” said Cate Faehrmann, the mover of the motion and NSW Greens MP and spokesperson for Gambling Harm.
“It’s so easy to launder money through poker machines that they are basically black market ATMs and they are conveniently located in nearly every pub and club in the state.
“You can place up to $7,500 into a poker machine at a time. But you seriously have to ask who is needing to put in that much money at a time? We may as well roll out the red carpet for crooks.
“It makes no sense that we have strict monitoring and controls around depositing cash money into a bank account but gambling winnings face nearly no scrutiny.
“It’s a failure of ClubsNSW, it’s a failure of Liquor and Gaming and it’s a failure of the Government that billions of dollars can be laundered annually right under their nose,” said Ms Faehrmann.
The motion as passed by the house:
- That this House notes that:
- In 2010 the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Gambling estimated 20 percent of poker machine revenue is related to organised crime;
- in 2014-15 poker machine turnover in NSW was $73.3 billion, meaning $14.66 billion of criminal funds may have been put through poker machines in one financial year; ;
- The proceeds of crime can easily be laundered this way by depositing a lump sum of cash into poker machines and withdrawing the majority of that cash as tax-free ‘winnings’;
- NSW has the second-highest poker machine load limit in the country, with individuals being able to load $7,500 into a single machine at a time;
- ClubsNSW are responsible for over 1,000 RSL, sporting and other clubs in NSW and around half of Australia’s poker machines;
- Whistleblower and former ClubsNSW anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance compliance auditor Troy Stolz has described the scale of money launder as “massive” and “alarming”;
- That this House calls on the government to urgently prioritise the development and implementation of measures to stamp out money laundering via poker machines in NSW.