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Online gambling poses greater money laundering threat than casinos

June 24, 2024 Singapore Crime & LegaliGaming & Gambling

Singapore authorities have rated the threat of money laundering in the nation’s land-based casinos as “moderately high,” but suggest casinos are less attractive to criminals compared to other sectors.

A recent report by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law, and Monetary Authority of Singapore outlines these money laundering risks, highlighting that online gambling presents a greater concern.

For land-based casinos like Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, the report notes inherent money laundering risks due to patrons using crime proceeds with the intent to obscure their origins. This is exacerbated by the cash-intensive nature of casinos and their ability to store and move funds across borders.

However, the report states that Singapore’s casinos have not been found directly complicit in money laundering, with few cases involving criminal proceeds converted to casino chips for self-laundering. Most suspicious transaction reports filed by casinos pertain to violations of the Casino Control Act rather than money laundering.

The report explains that the randomness and unpredictability of gaming outcomes make casinos a less attractive option for money laundering, as criminals risk losing significant portions of their proceeds. It is more common for criminals to use crime proceeds for gambling rather than laundering.

In contrast, online gambling poses a higher money laundering risk due to its lucrativeness and transnational nature. The report cites a recent US$3 billion money laundering case involving illegal online gambling sites linked to the Philippines, leading to several arrests in Singapore.

Despite strict regulations, illegal online gambling persists due to the ease of setting up and shutting down sites and hosting them outside Singapore. Syndicates also use alternative payment methods like cryptocurrencies, complicating the detection of suspicious transactions.

The report also highlights that foreign and cyber fraud, along with the banking sector, pose significant money laundering threats in Singapore.

Original Story by: IAG

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