AUSTRAC urges casino industry to be more vigilant with junket operators

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AUSTRAC urges casino industry to be more vigilant with junket operators

Australia’s anti-money laundering authority AUSTRAC has warned that junket gambling operators have been infiltrated and exploited by «serious and transnational criminal entities,» reported the Sydney Morning Herald. 

A junket is an arrangement between a casino and a tour operator to facilitate gambling in that casino. AUSTRAC released junket tour operations money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessment and urged the casino industry to do more against the possible money laundering. AUSTRAC stated the main threat junket operations face is money laundering, “The assessment also found that patronage by high risk customers from foreign jurisdictions is a key vulnerability associated with junkets.” 

The inquiries into the junket activity were spurred by the investigation NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) launched into Crown Resorts activities earlier this year. The opening of Crown’s Barangaroo casino was delayed due to the inquiry until 1 February. Crown also stated it won’t be partnering with junkets until they are licensed by the gambling authorities license. 

AUSTRAC chief executive Nicole Rose said: “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.” She added the problem with junkets can extend even further, “Money laundering and financial crime enables serious criminal activity such as drug trafficking and human trafficking which causes harm to our communities.»

Currently, the junket operations in the country are halted due to the ongoing travel restrictions related to the pandemic. 

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