The mafia’s latest game? Using Bitcoin casinos to launder cash

  • Mafia bosses allegedly have their eyes on Bitcoin and Bitcoin casinos
  • Simplicity of opening a Bitcoin casino pointed out as key driver

Italy’s organised crime families have long been known for their ability to spot a shrewd business deal, whether that be a cut-price lorry-load of electrical goods or a convenient means of laundering several million pounds. It doesn’t matter what the game is any more than its legal status – if there’s money to be made, the mob are up for the job.

Now, according to one Italian senator, the mafia have set their sights on Bitcoin, and specifically the ease with which the cryptocurrency can be used for laundering cash with the aid of online casinos.

Mafia organised crime
Forget cold hard cash, this time it’s Bitcoin that the mob has its eye on

This isn’t the first time that Bitcoin and money laundering have been mentioned in the same breath of course. Way before the pseudonymous currency was trading for four-figure dollar sums, it was being used as a convenient means of obfuscating the origins of money trails.

Reportedly, thousands of the transactions on betting site SatoshiDice were used for just that purposed back in the good old days of 2012-13.

At a recent Senate Anti-Mafia Commission, Democratic Senator Lucrezia Ricchiuti expressed concern at the way mafia figures have allegedly infiltrated a number of Bitcoin casinos and used them as their own illicit source of freshly washed cash.

Dirty money goes in, clean Bitcoin comes out, before being swapped for even cleaner fiat currency, presumably at a Bitcoin exchange or via sites such as LocalBitcoins.com.

“According to research conducted by the Financial Information Unit (FIU), it is possible to open a gaming site based on Bitcoin in a short time, operating in the absence of controls and in complete anonymity. This means there’s more and more of a need to refine strategies.”
Democratic Senator, Lucrezia Ricchiuti

While is it hard to confirm the substance of these allegations, Ricchiuti is right in noting how easy it is to open a Bitcoin casino. Casino licensing is as lax as everything else pertaining to Bitcoin which, by its nature, is designed to be outwith the control of the state. Simply purchase an .io domain, spend a few thousand on licensing the games software and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a Bitcoin casino.

Are the mafia and other shrewd operators using Bitcoin casinos to launder cash? Put it this way, it would be a miracle if they weren’t, but don’t expect this revelation to hurt the price of Bitcoin in the slightest. The digital currency has surged to record prices, exceeding the previous record set in 2013 prior to the collapse of leading exchange Mt Gox.

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