FBI Probing Links of Macau Casinos and High Rollers
A recent raid on a top casino at Las Vegas has thrown up clues of distinct connection between profitable gambling groups namely – High roller player junkets to Macau, high stake poker games and online sports betting. According to US regulators, the combination of these three is a perfect medium for attracting unsavoury elements of organized crime followed by money laundering. When federal authorities raided Caesars Entertainment in July 2014 and busted an illegal sports gambling racket it discovered that it had provided junket executives five villas for free along with credit of $90 million for high stakes gambling.
World Cup Soccer and Poker Competition at Vegas
The hotel claimed that the group of high roller players had come on special invitation for the poker competition and employees became suspicious of their strange requests for computers, televisions, DSL lines along with Wi-Fi. Since Caesars’ staff alerted police and also cooperated with them they were not charged when Paul Phua, an eminent high stakes player from Macau was accused of illegal sports gambling. Though others accused with Paul Phua were charged and fined, Paul has denied involvement in these crimes due to his contribution to Macau’s development and ownership of largest sports betting firms in the world.
Dangerous gambling combination
The Asian junkets bringing high rollers from Asian cities like Paul Phua to casinos in Macau has been working as successful money laundering outfits as funds are being transferred as wins and losses across national boundaries with ease. High stakes games in poker, baccarat and other card games are being financed by money from criminal activities. Though sports’ betting is considered illegal in several nations across Asia and some states in United States, it is still being carried out by high stakes junket players who travel to areas where it is legal to carry out their operations. The existence of illegal bookmakers and betting sites, sports betting provides ample scope for money laundering.