Nevada lawmakers look to close $140 billion money laundering loophole

  • Reports suggest that roughly $140 billion could be laundered through bookmakers each year
  • Nevada legislators are looking to close a loophole that permits this to happen

According to reports, an estimated $140 billion is laundered through Nevada bookmakers every year. It is a serious issue across the state, and lawmakers are considering their options for cracking down on this widespread crime.

nevada money laundering crackdown

Money laundering through smaller gambling venues

Las Vegas is one of the world’s largest – and most recognised – gambling capitals, pulling in millions of tourists and gamblers to the state of Nevada each year.

It stands to reason, then that Nevada’s legislators wish to do all they can to protect the integrity of casinos, and the wider gambling industry across the state.

Naturally, venues on the strip adhere to strict regulations that aim to prevent all financial crimes and encourage a responsible and safe gambling market. However, according to a recent report, when it comes to money laundering it isn’t the larger casinos that are the problem.

Casinos in Nevada are required by law to file currency transaction reports (CTRs) whenever a gambling transaction worth over $10,000 occurs. This applies to all gambling venues across the state, except for those that generate less than $1 million in revenue per year.

Since many smaller gaming operators are exempt from this law, satellite bookmakers located outside of the city are, reportedly, popular targets for money laundering.

“We believe the current practice of exempting these satellites from reporting winning sports book wagers of $10,000 or higher facilitates money laundering, increases the risk of criminal activity through third-party betting, impedes the efforts of law enforcement in identifying such activity,” says Catherine Catanzaro, Mesquite Gaming’s corporate compliance officer, in a July letter to regulators.

Mixed opinions from gambling professionals

Such a loophole compromises the integrity of gaming in Nevada. However, smaller bookmakers are reluctant to support its elimination. Plenty of smaller bookmakers are run by just one employee, and requiring them to file additional reports would be an imposition.

Despite opposition, the Gaming Commission is likely to pass the measure that will close the loophole that exempts smaller venues from reporting big wins. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, new financial software will be introduced that will help to streamline the process and make it easier for bookmaker employees to file CTRs – a measure that should go some way towards cleaning up the market.

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