The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) and NSW Crime Commission have announced a joint inquiry into reports of widespread money laundering in the state’s pubs and clubs.
The inquiry, to begin in early 2022, follows recent media allegations that more than AU$1 billion is being laundered through Australia’s poker (slot) machines annually, with around 140 pubs and clubs identified as venues of concern in Sydney alone.
“Working with the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, we’ve established that last year AU$85 billion was gambled in poker machines in pubs and clubs in NSW,” said Commissioner of the NSW Crime Commission, Michael Barnes.
“We simply don’t know how much of that was the proceeds of crime being laundered by or on behalf of criminal syndicates, but when so much money is involved it is reasonable to suspect some level of criminal activity.
“We aren’t starting with any preconceptions about the extent of that criminal activity. We know pubs and clubs deliver valuable community services and are assured ClubsNSW, the peak body for the industry, is committed to stamping out illegality.
“However, we expect the expert investigators, data analysts, lawyers and intelligence officers working on this project to uncover activities not previously known to operators or regulators that will assist to ensure pubs and clubs stay profitable while the community is protected.”
The NSW Crime Commission said it was currently calling for submissions to either the Commission or ILGA regarding the nature and extent of money laundering through licensed venues in NSW.