Money laundering seems like a pretty far-fetched idea for most who work hard for a living and gambling online simply for the fun of it. However, the black market of the global drug trade is everywhere. Whether you notice it or not, this undercover, illegal industry rakes in billions of dollars every year without making a peep. Now, there’s worries those in the drug trade could be using online slots to launder illegal money.
Gambling is considered a legal form of income, meaning any money deposited and later withdrawn is considered ‘clean’. This money can be legally deposited into any bank and used for other transactions. However, have new casino policies made it more difficult for criminals to launder money, and is money laundering via online slots something that happens often?
Is money laundering via slots possible?
In theory it is possible, though it isn’t the most straightforward method of moving money around. The first potential drawback would be online casino deposit procedures, as many can detect dirty money and stop it filtering into their site.
However, as more and more casinos offering online slots start to embrace cryptocurrency, criminals could soon be getting money into sites faster and easier than ever before. Cryptocurrencies are unregulated, meaning they are very easy for criminals to use without detection.
Chip Dumping has also been known to help criminals clean illegal cash. This occurs in games of online poker – one or more players in a game will purposely lose to another or transfer all their chips to one player.
Criminal gangs tend to make this easier by sitting in a room together and working with one another to play the odds to their advantage, or simply by deciding on a winner before the game starts. Players with good hands simply fold and players with weak hands lose to organize an intended win. Once all chips are with one player, they can then cash out clean money.
The truth is, money laundering through online slots and poker focuses more on the act of depositing money than anything else. Most organizations won’t even play their cash on online sites. Instead, the main aim is to deposit the money then take it out at a later date as if it were online slot earnings. This then effectively ‘cleans’ the money.
Many stringent regulations are in place to stop this kind of activity from happening. While the deposit trick used to work for criminals most of the time, the best online casinos now have rules in place to detect money laundering through online casinos that make it near impossible.
For some online slot sites, a minimum playthrough requirement is set up to stop players from depositing money and withdrawing it straight after. Most normal players wouldn’t do this, so it generally doesn’t affect the average customer’s day to day play.
Another popular online casino policy stops players from withdrawing in a different form from which they deposited. This means those who deposit in a cryptocurrency would be forced to withdraw in cryptocurrency. Unregistered casinos do not hold such policies, making them the sites of choice for most criminal organizations.
How many criminals are engaging with this?
Estimates as to how bad the problem is within online casinos widely vary. Governments struggle to prove winnings are laundered money and are therefore relatively helpless. Until world governments recognize the problem and work with one another, we’re unlikely to see an end to the practice. For now, however, that leaves us to rest assured in the fact that this maybe isn’t happening as often as some might think.