Clubs NSW have called on regulators and government ministers to stop talking about law changes, and give clubs more power to ban money launderers from using poker machines for life.
Speaking to Chris Smith on 2GB Radio, Clubs NSW CEO Josh Landis said that under the current laws clubs can only report suspicious activities to AUSTRAC.
Landis told Smith: “What they do with that information, we don’t know.”
He added: “It is a breach – you will get into a lot of trouble – if you even notify that person that you suspect them on money-laundering. We are not allowed to kick them out, we are not allowed to do anything other than report it to AUSTRAC.
“We’re saying ‘if that’s all we are allowed to do under the law, then don’t blame us when the activity is happening in the club, if you want us to do more we are happy to, but you must empower us’.
“So we are calling on regulators and ministers who think this is a problem, to stop talking and to actually change the law, if they want some help from us.”
Landis said that in NSW, clubs operate under both Federal and State regulations, with the anti-tipping off provisions at Federal level, under the AUSTRAC Act, and while some poker machine operators have further provisions under State rules, those do not apply to clubs.
“The police tell the casino, at The Star in Sydney, when there is someone they suspect of being a money-launderer. So The Star can kick them out. What we’re saying is ‘why is it good enough for The Star to be able to kick them out, under State law, but we can’t do it?’” Landis told 2GB.
“If they want us to do it, we’ll do it, but the law needs to change. We’re sick of being the meat in the sandwich, but we’re happy to help.
“[We’d like] to be able to say to people ‘you’re not welcome here’. If the Police Commissioner tells us, as he or she tells The Star, then we’re happy to ban them for life.”
Landis commended the NSW Police Minister for supporting the clubs’ approach to this issue, and told Smith: “We’re saying to him, ‘if this is a problem and you would know more than anybody because the police look into this, then change the law, and we’re happy to do our bit’.”