Greens seek crackdown on illicit casino profits

By Kate Shuttleworth

The Green Party has drafted a bill that would require casinos to pay back proceeds received through criminal activity. Photo / Thinkstock
The Green Party has drafted a bill that would require casinos to pay back proceeds received through criminal activity. Photo / Thinkstock

The Green Party has drafted a bill that would require casinos to pay back proceeds received through criminal activity.

The Bill will amend the Criminal Proceeds of Crime (Recovery) Amendment Act to impose a special obligation on casinos to return profits derived from significant criminal activity, and which they should have detected.

Green Party gambling spokeswoman Denise Roche said problem gamblers were targeted under the existing law but the casino would not suffer.

"When problem gamblers are convicted of stealing from their employers, or laundering drug money through the casino, everyone suffers except the casino, who pockets the profits."

"The addict is jailed, and loses their job, their family and friends. Their employer can be ruined. But the casino is better off as a result of the crime. That's not fair," said Ms Roche.

The draft amendment bill specifically includes casinos in the Act and introduces a new legal test that makes them responsible for forfeiting proceeds, if they allowed the gambling to occur by not using the best methods to detect problem gambling and crime.

"It's about ensuring that the proceeds of significant criminal activity, are returned to people they've been stolen from," said Ms Roche.

Casinos have access to advanced technologies for detecting criminal activity and fraud. They have host responsibility programmes that should ensure alarm bells go off when risky gambling occurs.

"Recent prosecutions involving huge amounts of money stolen and then gambled by high rollers at SkyCity Casinos, often tracked by Casino VIP programmes, raise questions about whether the casino could have done more to detect and deter the crimes."

Other laws and regulations are in place to ensure casinos step up their efforts to detect crime.

"This amendment Bill is about ensuring they return criminal proceeds that they should never have benefited from," Ms Roche said.

- APNZ

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