The Financial Secrecy Index has advised Australia to put more effort in the fight against money laundering and tax avoidance, this was contained in the group’s declaration of Australia as a nation with substantial quantities of illicit funds from outside the country. The money laundering bane in Australia is linked with organised crime and widely used for drug activities and supporting terrorism. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was fined $700 million in 2018 for breaching 53,700 money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. Also, Westpac and Tabcorp were fined severally for breaching financial laws by the Australian government financial intelligence agency, Austrac.
Arguably, businesses not adhering to Anti-Money Laundering regulations are allowing criminals such as drug dealers and terrorists to thrive. Money gained illicitly is fed into pokie machines in Australia to clean and legitimize the money. One former ClubsNSW Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Finance compliance auditor says $65- $75 billion worth of cash goes through pokies across Australia each year.
Typically, criminals clean up to $10,000 in minutes through poker machines. The gamblers subsequently collect the winnings as a cheque from the hotel which is clean and appears to tax and other authorities as a gambling win. The questions arising now are based on whether the government is unaware of the nefarious act or it intentionally overlooks the act because of the profits made from gambling industry.