Risk of money laundering at your venue

Money laundering through gaming machines in licensed venues is more common than you think.

Gaming licensees should realise the potential of these activities taking place at their premises and know their obligations to counteract them.

Now’s a good time for some New Year housekeeping of your policies and procedures, so I urge you to brush up on your obligations under Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.

These laws are regulated by AUSTRAC, an Australian Government agency that uses financial intelligence and regulation to disrupt money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime.

AUSTRAC regulates certain business activities, including the financial, bullion and gambling sectors. These services are ‘designated’ under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 because they have been identified as posing a risk for money laundering and terrorism financing.

The AUSTRAC website has some very useful information and guidelines to help you implement a program to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks at your premises. Go to www.austrac.gov.au/business/industry-specific-guidance/18

One key requirement is that you cannot pay winnings of $10,000 or more until you have collected and verified the required information about the customer.

For individuals, you will need to collect the customer’s full name, date of birth and current residential address.

You must then verify the customer’s full name and either their date of birth or residential address to documentation that is reliable and independent. The documentation you choose to accept should also be based on the level of risk you are willing to accept and may include an original or certified copy of a primary:

  1. photographic identification document, such as a drivers licence or passport, or
  2. non-photographic identification document, such as a birth certificate, or concession card and an original or certified copy of a secondary identification document, such as a rates notice or electricity account.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 provides a full list of acceptable document types. You can find this at www.legislation.gov.au

Normally, payouts to customers in Queensland must be made within 24 hours after their claim is made. However, if it takes longer than 24 hours for the customer to produce suitable ID you will not be penalised for withholding payment.

There are some circumstances where you must collect and verify information about a customer even if the winnings are less than $10,000. These circumstances include where a suspicious matter arises, or if you determine that the money laundering/terrorism financing risk associated with a customer is high.

If you are unsure of your obligations for payments of $10,000 or more, contact AUSTRAC, Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing regulator, on 1300 021 037, or visit the AUSTRAC website at 

It is in the best interests of your business that you and your staff are alert for potential criminal activities associated with the gaming machines at your premises, particularly in light of AUSTRAC’s high profile activities.

* Please note this communication is not intended to constitute legal advice in relation to your obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, nor does it represent the full scope of your responsibilities under that legislation.

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