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Joyce’s dirty deals: money laundering at SkyCity

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, April 17th, 2012 - 30 comments
Categories: crime, Steven Joyce - Tags: ,

The Greens have revealed that criminals are laundering millions of dollars through SkyCity, taking their gambling losses as the price of coming out with clean, untraceable money. The Government’s sleazy ‘law for sale’ deal with SkyCity would only make it worse by allowing more anonymous, higher stake gambling on the pokies. Instead, we should be clamping down.

SkyCity should be under a duty to determine that its high-rollers came by their money legitimately. Just like if you go into a bank and try to deposit a large amount of cash, they’ll ask questions under their FATF obligations to prevent money laundering.

It’s not like a lot of people can afford to come to a casino and drop hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars.

Internal Affairs says that the cashless pokies that SkyCity wants as part of its deal to build a white elephant convention centre would also make problem gamlbing worse: “the ticket machines can allow gamblers to dissociate themselves from reality by not using “real” money; gamble uninterrupted for long periods; increase gambling credits by $500 a time, rather than the $20 cash limit; be less likely to be identified as problem gamblers”.

So, an easier route for SkyCity’s criminal customers to launder their money (with SkyCity making a profit on the transactionl) and a more dangerous option for problem gamblers. Someone, tell me what New Zealand gets out of Steven Joyce’s dirty deal again?

30 comments on “Joyce’s dirty deals: money laundering at SkyCity ”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    So the proceeds of crime flow directly from criminals to the National Party, through the bowels of Sky City. Why would they have a problem with that: wealth buys legitimacy in right-wing circles.

  2. freedom 2

    a quick (and obviously rhetorical) question… Why not impose the same 37 % community return onto ALL gambling at Casinos that is imposed upon Club and Pub machines ? If the business thinks it is too high then they can go to another country. Yes i also believe that should include Lotto.

    Wouldn’t it be great if those hundreds of millions of dollars were paid to an [Aotearoa Trust] which was effectively a revenue collection service for the community/education/welfare programmes that are progressively being eliminated.

    I know, naive and futile thoughts, but it won’t stop me believing they would make a real difference.

    • freedom 2.1

      addendum to my comment above,
      Yes i also believe that should include Lotto and the TAB

  3. DJ 3

    Wow talk about trying to create a news item.

    Point 1: I have been to the casino many times and it is never full. If it were full and had a queue out the door to get in, then I would agree that more machines will attract more people. But this is not the case.

    Point 2: That Herald article refers to 5 cases over 3 years? And you pick up on that and call for the world to end. Someone from the right persuasion points out 5 families rorting the benefit system and you bleet about bene bashing.

    Can’t win with you lot.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 3.1

      “The world to end” – are you having some comprehension problems (perhaps as a result of the low IQ that your conservative viewpoint indicates is likely)?

      Not “the world” – the corruption and money laundering, and the solicitation and acceptance of bribes by the National Party – that is what people would like to see an end to. Can you tell the difference between that and “the world”?

      • DJ 3.1.1

        So again you have nothing constructive to say other than play the man.

        I have to laugh at you (but won’t make the same judgements you do coz I know nothing about you), but I can tell you exactly what my IQ is and exactly where I sit on the list of IQs in this country. So you see not only were your assumptions wrong again, but it sort of makes you sound a wee bit jealous. Sort of like small man syndrome.

        Anyway back to my point. I agree with the laundering part of the post. But that is not the issue. The criminals will launder anywhere they can. Shut one door and they make another.

        My point was, this is not news. This has been going on for ages, and having a convention center and some more machines neither kills it or fuels it. It’s just hypocrisy to bleat about this and not all the other rorts happening in the country doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you are on.

        Are you also saying that no one in the Labour party gets kick backs from any business or union? Because that would be pretty naive really.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 3.1.1.1

          How nice for you that you are one of the minority of right-wingers with a decent IQ – don’t shoot the messenger I’m just repeating robust scientific findings.

          Funny how you claim I have nothing to add, then address the substantive points I made – sort of like schizophrenic man’s syndrome.

          The National Party sells policies to overseas business interests. In your mind, is that the equivalent of Labour being funded by democratically run unions that represent New Zealand workers?

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.2

          “My point was, this is not news. This has been going on for ages, and having a convention center and some more machines neither kills it or fuels it.”

          This is called “shining the spotlight on something”. The public has a very very limited attention span (helped along by the media), so when we start having a public discussion about a casino getting special treatment from the government, it’s worth looking at all aspects of how a casino operates.

          Not sure how well your IQ stacks up if you couldn’t work this out.

        • Roy 3.1.1.3

          Actually you probably don’t know exactly where your IQ sits unless it is very close to the mean, because the result becomes less and less accurate as you move away from the mean and by the time you are 2 standard deviations or more away from the mean, comparisons between different individuals more than 2 standard deviations higher, or between different individuals more than 2 standard deviations lower, become hopelessly inaccurate.
          Oh yes, and the mean has been moving up over the years, too.

    • freedom 3.2

      DJ,
      tens of millions of dollars (conservatively) that are the proceeds of criminal activity are laundered every year through the tables and machines of Sky City and other Casinos in NZ.
      Casinos are globally acknowledged as one of the principal vehicles for laundering dirty money.

      If the Casino is always so empty, where does all the profit come from? If the money is legit then the Casino should have no problems asking its patrons for some sort of verification of its origin.

      More troublesome, is that if your comments are accurate and so few people are gambling then there are some very wealthy people with some very serious gambling problems. As those with means often have influence, what other areas of their lives are in dissaray and prone to poor judgement?

      • DJ 3.2.1

        Indeed there probably are. But’s let’s focus on the crime. If you close the casinos down, they launder somewhere else don’t they?

        • freedom 3.2.1.1

          great, so close the casino, then the ‘other places’ will surface and can be properly identified and steps can be taken, and so on and so on and so on. There are only so many ways to efficiently launder large sums. Make no mistake DJ we are talking hundreds of millions of dollars.

          Please explain exactly where these sums will be processed if the casinos are removed? Community pokies?, hardly. Cash purchases of property? a lot harder these days. On the Stock market? even harder thanks to contemporary reporting structures for cash purchases. Laundering illegal funds was one of the reasons Casinos were created in the first place.

          The remaining processes involve trusts and the like but even then the creation and maintenance of such funds are under much tighter scrutiny, even if the transparency of a trust’s beneficiaries is still less than optimum.

          Honestly what is the worst that can happen if all Casinos were closed?

        • bbfloyd 3.2.1.2

          how stupid do you have to be before you don’t realise the utter stupidity of that statement??….

          “they launder somewhere else don’t they?” … of course they will you pillock… that’s the point of the exercise.. that’s not even close to an acceptable excuse to encourage it at sky city….

          setting up shell(front) companies is the time honoured method to launder money… using a casino is faster, that’s all…. and setting up legitimate businesses to launder money does two things… first, it doesn’t cause a larger, compounding gambling problem issue that the community is the victim of,.. and two, it actually can create jobs…(someone has to work those businesses) …..

          video rental outlets have been a popular front in the past… there are many others.. takeaway bars, pubs, even two dollar shops would do it…the list is endless….

          and by the way have you been around the casino and asked people in there how much money they individually have gambled away? or does doing a head count and averaging an arbitrary figure for each body suffice to make an “informed” guess? would the figures quoted by sky city itself be a more accurate measure of how much money is sucked out of circulation through gambling losses?

          let me know when the tranquilisers wear off would you….

        • Lanthanide 3.2.1.3

          “If you close the casinos down, they launder somewhere else don’t they?”

          And? We should just give up? We should just make laundering money completely legal anyway?

          People use Casinos to launder money because it’s easy to do so. Forcing them to use other methods will reduce crime because it won’t be as easy to get money out of the crime. Other laundering methods may also be easier to detect, resulting in more prison sentences for the criminals.

          Can you come up with any logical reason for why we shouldn’t clamp down on a known avenue of significant money laundering?

    • Craig Glen Eden 3.3

      “I would agree that more machines will attract more people. But this is not the case.”

      So why do Sky City want more Machines then ? Why would they want this deal convention Center for more machines.Shits and giggles maybe? Because thats right Corporates just love giving stuff away for nothing!

    • Colonial Viper 3.4

      Point 1: I have been to the casino many times and it is never full. If it were full and had a queue out the door to get in, then I would agree that more machines will attract more people. But this is not the case.

      Meh, you may have been to the casino “many times” but the casino has 24/7 records of its machine utilisation.

      And it wants MOAR machines, not less. And since those machines are $100K each, I’m betting (haha) that it believes that they will be very profitable.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Get rid of cash and have every transaction in the country tied to an IRD number. Money laundering then becomes impossible as every transaction becomes traceable.

    EDIT: Ban the bloody pokies.

  5. Deano 5

    SkyCity boss:

    He said the casino was too small for the number of people who wanted to use it.

    “If you come here on a Wednesday night or a Friday night, the property is full.

    “It is uncomfortable. You can’t enjoy it anymore. We clearly want to expand our business. There is clearly demand for it.

    “There will continue to be demand for it. We think it is a very good business and a business worthy of promoting and expanding.”

    – so, he’s got too many problem gamblers and wants space for more. We have a limit for a reason, to contain problem gambling. Raising the limit when it’s reached somewhat undermines its purpose.

  6. Adrian 6

    Wednesday and Friday nights are interesting? Why those nights? Friday I get, pay is transferred on Thursday night but what payment is made on Tuesday night, Super?

  7. toad 7

    And check out SkyCity’s problem gambler creation scheme

    The irony is that the technology used for Premier Rewards could be used to identify and bar problem gamblers. But that’s not what SkyCity are using it for. They’re using it to create more problem gamblers.

  8. Money Laundering is a 3 stage process which includes placement, layering and integration. As has been pointed out in other comments, casinos make it fairly easy to place money into the financial system. In the US, Casinos are considered financial institutions from the perspective of money laundering. This requires them to report large cash in or out transactions to the government. Casinos have been regulated as Financial Institutions since 1985, and the regulations are continually refined to make it more difficult for criminals.

    The machines mentioned in this article are attractive to money launderers because of the anonymity they provide. They want to be anonymous from a “money in” perspective. Criminals are quite happy to have the “winnings” documented, because a tax form from a casino provides proof of a legitimate source of the funds, which is the ultimate goal of laundering money.

  9. Gareth 9

    I would.ve thought that they.d be more likely to launder through table games anyway. The rate of loss on something like roulette is much lower.

  10. What do you expect from an ex-Wall St bank$ter, John Key, who was head of Derivatives for Merrill Lynch, and is still a shareholder in the Bank of America?

    The current Prime Minister of New Zealand – ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’.

    How SHONKY is that?

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

  11. What odds that he has shares in Sky City Penny / he’s a con-man first and formost.How the hell did the public fall for this sleaz.

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