Politics

Casino operators’ junket crime risk ‘high’

Australia’s anti-money laundering agency AUSTRAC has assessed the risk of crime from casino junket tour operations as “high”.

In November, Crown Resorts announced it would stop dealing with all junket operations as the company fights to prove it is fit to run a new casino in Sydney.

Media reports last year alleged Crown’s casinos had been used for money laundering and that junket tour operators Crown had relationships with had links to organised crime.

AUSTRAC on Friday released its junket tour operations money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment, which showed the sector faces “multiple criminal threats”.

“The assessment concludes that the main criminal threat facing the JTOs sector is money laundering,” the agency said.

“The assessment also found that patronage by high risk customers from foreign jurisdictions is a key vulnerability associated with junkets.”

AUSTRAC talked to casinos, banks and regulators to collect insights about criminal threats, vulnerabilities and consequences related to junket operations.

AUSTRAC chief Nicole Rose the agency expected Australian casinos and associated sectors to use this assessment to protect their businesses and the Australian community from criminal threats.

“Money laundering and financial crime enables serious criminal activity such as drug trafficking and human trafficking which causes harm to our communities,” she said in a statement.

“I urge casinos to take prompt action by assessing their levels of risk posed by junket operations, strengthening their controls and reporting suspicious activity to AUSTRAC.”

A junket is an arrangement between a casino and a tour operator to facilitate gambling by one, or a group, of players at a casino.

In return for bringing the players to the casino, it pays the tour operator a commission based on the collective gambling activity of players on the junket.

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