The U.S. Treasury Department's anti-money laundering unit is concerned about billions of dollars involved in illegal sports betting being pushed through land casinos
US casino operators may soon be asked by federal authorities to keep a keener eye on wagers due to the billions of dollars involved, according to a Reuters news agency report Tuesday.
Two different and anonymous sources told the agency that illegal sports betting is funneling billions of dollars into the US financial system through land casinos, and this is worrying the U.S. Treasury Department's anti-money laundering unit.
The unit is intent on stifling illegal sports betting, and is planning to issue Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance to land casino operators which is expected to highlight "red flag" activity that should be reported. This could include, for example, unusually large wagers… a sign that bets are being pooled.
The Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation division is also involved in addressing money laundering risks associated with illegal sports betting, both domestic and offshore, Reuters notes. The Service is concerned that illegal sports books, including online operators, push "tens of billions of dollars" every year through the US system by using land casinos.
Reuters recalls that in August last year Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corporation paid $47 million to settle a federal case over anti-money laundering failures, and that Caesars Entertainment also disclosed that it was being investigated by FinCEN over similar allegations at its Desert Palace property.
"There are signs the pressure will only increase," Reuters reports. "The IRS, responsible for auditing casinos' anti-money laundering compliance programs, has begun training additional examiners."
Both FinCEN and the IRS criminal investigation unit declined comment when approached.
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