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Online gambling and money laundering views from the inside

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Online gambling and money laundering: "views from the inside"

Randeep Rameshsocial affairs editor. Friday 8 November D ressed deposit minimum william casino hill a grey hoodie and jeans, James, 24, looks like just another lost soul in the high street, shuttling between the six betting shops in an east coast seaside town.

But this is not a young gambler blowing his meagre wages. 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.

Dealers feed their drug money through online gambling and money laundering views from the inside machines, losing a little and then cashing out with the vast majority of their stake, James says.

The FOBTs are probably the single most profitable pieces of online gambling and money laundering views from the inside in the town centre's shabby pedestrian precinct.

The terminals arrived in Britain in and were lightly regulated from the outset. The temptation of high-speed, high-stake casino games in the high street proved irresistible: 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: Here 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 online gambling and money laundering views from the inside 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 online gambling and money laundering views from the inside 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. James's strategy is simple: 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. 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 check this out and who leaves.

We can online gambling and money laundering views from the inside back for a bit and go somewhere else. Pretty soon they will relax and welcome us all back. Bookmakers essentially regulate themselves: Adrian Parkinson, a former regional machines online gambling and money laundering views from the inside at the Tote, now with the Campaign for Fairer Gamblingsaid: 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 online gambling and money laundering views from the inside the law. William Hill said it had "robust systems" to meet its regulatory obligations.

In a statement, Ladbrokes said: Given most stakes in shops are small, any large transactions are easily recognisable. Any attempt to transfer money to online accounts will require identity verification at account opening or first transactions which in conjunction with CCTV would be an excellent source of evidence for the police. The media have helped to cement the place of gambling in the national psyche. Advertising during televised football matches exhorts audiences to have a flutter.

Electronic gambling has found a younger audience through online role-playing games such as World of Online gambling and money laundering views from the inside, in which players have been able to set up virtual casinos.

This year the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime warned that such games were being used by organised crime to launder cash. Also helping to rehabilitate gambling is a new range of interactive TV programming. Late-night shows such as ITV's Jackpot — in which television viewers place bets online or over the phone, playing along to a live presenter-hosted roulette show — repolish gambling's image by treating electronic betting as a form of mainstream entertainment.

This shift in the marketing of electronic gambling has taken place as suspicions emerge that the industry has been targeting poor people. Last December, in a paper for the Journal of Gambling Studies, Heather Wardle, a former project director of the British Gambling Prevalence Survey, warned that gambling machines were more likely to be found in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation. The presence of these machines appears to have a distorting effect on these moribund local economies.

In a pub near Salford's Duchy estate, close to where rioting took click the following article intwo young men nursed pints of soft drink and explained how a vortex of soft drug sales, payday lenders and betting shops kept the local economy afloat.

Salford has 72 people chasing each vacancy. It was the only part of Greater Online gambling and money laundering views from the inside which last year recorded a rise in numbers on jobseeker's allowance JSA. Unemployed Jake, 28, sells marijuana on the local streets and smokes some of the profit. He recoups any losses by gambling and taking out loans at lenders.

He points out the brown shopping arcade in Salford lined with bookmakers and loan companies. It's the main business around here. Take dole, turn it into weed, sell them, take your profits and put them into the machines. If you win, click the following article are quids in. If you lose, you get cash from the money shops to casino with deposit bonus your losses.

Back to dole and buying drugs. There's nothing else around here to do. The drug dealer admits that he is "a bit" addicted to gambling, comparing the thrill of betting on the spin of a roulette wheel to the rapid highs and lows of drugs.

The spread of betting shops in this part of the north-west is astonishing. Manchester city centre has Such bunching could be linked to the fact that bookmakers are limited to four machines a shop. As the machines are hugely lucrative the betting industry has bypassed the restriction by opening branches in high streets — "clustering" in poorer areas. We tell staff to play it cool. We don't want to arouse suspicions. We employ young mothers in those shops.

Do you know that online gambling and money laundering views from the inside notes from bank robberies can be submitted to the Bank of England and the company gets reimbursed? Staff know what pays their wages.

Gambling Drugs Sport betting Fixed-odds betting terminals features. Labour turns guns on coalition gambling reforms with Commons vote. Opposition refuses to back changes to stakes and prizes unless laws include betting without minimum deposit betting terminals seen as 'crack cocaine of gambling'.

High-stakes gambling machines 'suck money from poorest communities'. David Cameron must curb gambling machines or society will pay the price Tom Watson.

Fixed odds betting terminals fuel a destructive habit and are linked with crime. Bookies' checks on money-laundering.

A constant, hidden threat: money laundering in the betting and gaming industry

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