The main representative body of the New South Wales clubs industry has called for a raft of new measures, including life bans for individuals, to help prevent money laundering in the state’s 1,200-plus clubs.
In a statement issued this week, ClubsNSW called for the power to issue exclusion orders that would ban people from venues whenever there were “reasonable grounds to suspect they are attempting to exploit a community club to launder illicit funds.”
It also wants to see a joint industry taskforce established to specifically police money laundering, access to state government alerts around suspicious activity, protections put in place for whistle-blowers, mandatory digital entry to all venues and a centralized register alerting authorities to unusual betting activity.
The proposals follow a recent joint report by media outlets The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes – the same group that brought down Crown Resorts and recently alleged similar concerns around Star Entertainment Group – claiming more than AU$1 billion is being laundered through poker (slot) machines in Australia’s pubs and clubs annually.
Around 140 pubs and clubs in Sydney alone have been identified as venues of concern, the report said.
ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis said the body’s members needed better regulatory support to help quash the problem.
“At present, clubs are prevented by federal law from banning members for acting suspiciously in our venues as it would constitute a ‘tipping-off’ offence,” he said.
“We’re also unable to utilise NSW Police or Liquor and Gaming NSW alerts which would allow us to identify potential money launderers operating in our venues.
“We want to work with police and regulators to identify criminals so that we can ban them from our venues for life.”