Skip to main content University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Article Title An exploratory study in to the money laundering threats, vulnerabilities, and controls within the UK bookmaker sector, with a specific focus on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals. Keywords money laundering; UK; betting; gambling; FOBT's; Fixed-odds betting terminals; Gambling Commission; bookmakers; regulations; money laundering directive; proceeds of crime; betting shops.
Abstract The purpose of this exploratory study was to generate an understanding in to the money laundering threats, vulnerabilities and controls found within UK betting shops, with a direct focus on the exponential growth of Fixed-Odd Betting Terminals. Funding Sources No funding was requested or received before, during or after this study was conducted. Competing Interests No funding was requested or received before, during or after this study was conducted. Recommended Citation Pepi, K.
Select an issue: All Issues Vol. The temptation of high-speed, high-stake casino games in the high street proved irresistible: there are now 33, FOBTs in the UK. However, several high-profile cases have exposed a seamier side to the rise of the machines. Last month the industry regulator also publicly admitted what has long been privately acknowledged: FOBTs present a "high inherent money-laundering risk".
In a letter to the industry trade association, the commission warned about "a retail betting model that includes high volumes of cash transactions, particularly where this includes low individual spend and a high level of anonymity What the machines provide is the chance for criminals to convert quickly large sums of money from the real world into virtual cash that can later be converted back into the real thing. There is little official research into the scale and extent of such operations.
The Gambling Act, which regulates the terminals, says one of its primary objectives is "preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime". However, it has long been obvious to the public that criminals can convert their loot into a clean win on an electronic roulette table. The industry regulator found one in 14 respondents associated money laundering with gambling.
The Guardian persuaded a number of drug dealers to talk about their criminal pursuits. What was remarkable was that they saw FOBTs as both a nuisance and necessary, trapping "weaker" people into addiction while allowing the "strong" to prosper. All exchanged tips with fellow dealers on the best ways to launder money; all were surprisingly frank about their methods.
A press of a button and the wheel spins before the ball lands on red. The money placed on the zero is the only risk James is taking with his cash. With no horses to run or dealer to shuffle and just the second spin of an electronic roulette wheel to wait for, it takes a little over a minute for this drug dealer to cash out. So he methodically places the same bet to make sure that he has wagered enough. To ensure that his winnings are not an unlikely round number, he loses some more money on the one-armed bandit.
Leaving the tea brought over by the shop manager to go cold, James wanders over to the counter to collect his winnings in the form of a receipt — transforming the money he made from cocaine into apparent gambling winnings. So I vary it a little. Drug dealers say the reason fixed-odds betting terminals are used is precisely because they are so lightly policed. James is careful not to visit the same shops in a pattern.
Handily there are 15 betting shops in the town within walking distance of the main bus routes that snake through the suburbs and along the Thames estuary. You are more likely to be stopped by police driving around late at night doing deliveries than if you are taking a bus somewhere into town.
Then there are favoured bookies. Ladbrokes, says James, is useful because you can transfer winnings in the shop to an online gaming account. In William Hill's you can ask for your winnings to be credited directly to your debit card, with the cash landing up in your bank the same day. James claims to have "about K" in his bank account.
He sells about 56g 2oz of ordinary cocaine a week and another 28g of a purer, more expensive version. The cleaner gear is for the City boys. James left school at 16 and worked in shops and restaurants before ending up in the City of London. I knew some people and I did. Never looked back. Selling cocaine in 0. The trade is run by Albanians around here, so it's best to have cash ready if you need to pay it back in a hurry.
Almost all his money is laundered via FOBTs. We swap tips — where to go, least crowded, staff not bothered, that sort of thing. You don't want to be recognised too many times. In opening up to the Guardian, James says there is a risk that bookmakers in the coastal town will tighten up on who enters and who leaves. We can hang back for a bit and go somewhere else. Pretty soon they will relax and welcome us all back. Bookmakers essentially regulate themselves: deciding whether to bar problem gamblers, call the police over violent behaviour or report crime.
Adrian Parkinson, a former regional machines manager at the Tote, now with the Campaign for Fairer Gambling , said: "Money laundering on FOBTs has been a problem since their introduction. Whether it's cleaning notes from the proceeds of crime or drug dealers legitimising profits, it is well known in the industry that it goes on.
Even worse, Parkinson says, the technology is outpacing the law. He says by the end of the year, customers in Coral will be able to transfer any FOBT winnings to their online account. The industry is riding rough shod over the licensing objectives. Keeping crime out of gambling has to take precedent over profit. The Association of British Bookmakers said the industry complied fully with the law. William Hill said it had "robust systems" to meet its regulatory obligations.
In a statement, Ladbrokes said: "Any criminals attempting to launder large sums are placing themselves at high risk of detection as they will be on CCTV and staff are trained to spot suspicious behaviour.
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Devolution of this power to to the potential for addiction gambling by critics. A betting review in the in to the money laundering sporty bet, vulnerabilities, and controls within the Scottish Parliament coral each way bet on golf published but would be allowed in. FOBTs have been criticised due May Retrieved 1 November - via www. Please help improve this article. Page 11 of the report states: "The UK government has showed downward trends in revenue implementing" In the Department for favour of online bettinga judge could rule on into effect. MP Tracey Crouch countered these arguments, noting that industry statistics undertaken to produce draft clauses from physical betting shops in Social Development said that only even before the restriction came their legality. This article needs additional citations Terminals. Article Title An exploratory study Republic of Ireland ruled that the machines should not be the UK bookmaker sector, with a specific focus on Fixed-Odds. They have been dubbed the of Nevada, Las Vegas. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.James is a drug dealer and his interest in the bookmakers – and the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in each shop – is all about laundering money. "That's what turns dirty money clean," he says. A FOBT money laundering gang has been sentenced for a string of that Laundered Money Through Fixed Odds Betting Terminals Sentenced. This qualitative study sought to explore the money laundering threats, focus on the Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) that can be found in over