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Jerome García August 2, 2023 3 min read
NSW Gambling Watchdog Reportedly Withholds Documents over ML Probe
A new report suggests that the gambling regulator in the state tried to withhold information regarding an investigation of the Crime Commission
In an effort to help reduce money laundering and other financial crimes, the NSW government unveiled a cashless gaming trial for pubs and clubs. The trial seeks to estimate the impact and effectiveness of the cashless gaming technology and determine whether or not it should be implemented as a mandatory requirement for poker machines, also known as pokies. Besides seeking to reduce crimes such as money laundering, the changes to the gambling sector in the state seek to protect customers from excessive gambling.
Now, a new report suggests that the state’s gambling commission failed to provide information related to a probe of the NSW Crime Commission. The inquiry, titled Project Islington, sought to determine the impact of money laundering on pokies within pubs and clubs and dates back to 2022. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, MP Alex Greenwich uncovered documents that shed light on the peculiar case.
The gambling regulator in the state, Liquor and Gaming NSW, brought some 8497 documents related to the Crime Commission’s probe. That number was reduced to a total of 125 by the Commission. However, after that was done, reportedly, Liquor and Gaming NSW tried to exclude 38 documents from the 125, saying that they did “not fit the scope of the order.”
Cashless Gaming Data May Help Identify Money Laundering
According to Greenwich, the failure to provide documents related to Project Islington and effectively the limitation of documents on the inquiry was “deeply concerning.” He explained: “Following the crime commissioner’s review of these documents, it is clear there is a transaction data void when it comes to being able to investigate and mitigate the different types of money laundering that occur in clubs and pubs.”
Additionally, Greenwich urged the expert panel that oversees the cashless gaming trial to make recommendations on how to investigate and fight money laundering and other crimes that may affect pokies in the state.
Michael Barnes, the NSW Crime Commissioner, explained that the 38 documents that the gambling regulator tried to withhold included “profiles of persons of interest.” Moreover, he highlighted the limits that are tied to the currently collected data from pubs and clubs, saying that it prevents the successful identification of money laundering.
According to Barnes, the mandatory implementation of cashless gaming is another effective method that can help in the fight against such financial crimes. Finally, he highlighted that cashless gaming can help deliver data that can successfully identify money laundering.