In the wake of explosive reports about money laundering at pubs and clubs across Australia, the country’s most powerful state lobby has put forward new proposals to ban suspected money launderers for life.
The North West Star reports that ClubsNSW said police could issue an “exclusion order” to suspected money launderers, banning them from a venue if there were “reasonable grounds to suspect they are attempting to exploit a community club to launder illicit funds.”
The industry body’s plan also urges a mandatory industry Code of Practice for gaming venues that would see the creation of a joint industry-police taskforce on money laundering, access for clubs to state government alerts to help identify suspicious activity and a secure process to tip off police if someone is seen acting suspiciously.
ClubsNSW also proposes that digital entry be required for all gaming venues and calls for a centralised cheque and EFT register so police can see if any person has had multiple big wins on a poker machine in a given period.
The peak body said in a statement that it would propose the suite of measures to the NSW government and police.
ClubsNSW chief executive Josh Landis said money laundering laws needed to be beefed up.
“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.”
The industry proposal comes as the NSW government is under pressure to establish a public inquiry into money laundering in the state’s pubs and clubs after revelations hundreds of millions of dollars were being “washed” through poker machines.
Advocates for gaming reform say pokies venues should be scrutinised in a similar way as the giant casino firms Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group to stamp out illicit practices.