Australia: Money laundering fears in NSW as poker machine profits surge in pandemic

The NSW Crime Commission fears the Australian economy could become a safe haven for ill-gotten money as international criminals, like legitimate businesses, are drawn by the nation’s successful management of the COVID-19 crisis.

The commission’s concerns have emerged as new figures show the state’s poker machine profits in the final months of 2020 were up on the year before, fuelling concerns about widespread exploitation of the machines as a money laundering avenue for criminals.

Figures from Liquor and Gaming NSW for November and December show gaming machine profits were $582.7 million and $629.6 million over the two months, increases of 1.8 per cent and 6.5 per cent on the same period in 2019.

Between July and December, total gaming machine profits were $4.4 billion, up from $4 billion in the last six months of 2019.

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