The Gambling Commission has ordered Macau Casino in Washington State to pay it $1.25 million for covering the costs of the investigation. The authorities were inquiring about the casino for money laundering and loansharking allegations at the gaming venues of the company.
Why did the Commission penalize the casino?
The Commission wanted to cover the costs of its investigation into the casino and deter its peers from engaging in similar activities. The reimbursement is related to a 2016 inquiry into the casino after some complaints about money laundering and loansharking against the company. The Tukwila Police Department and the Gambling Commission investigated Macau’s Lakewood and Tukwila properties.
Dave Trujillo, the Director of Washington State Gambling Commission said,
“This penalty sends a message to those involved in the investigation, as well as others in the industry. We will take the necessary steps to keep the criminal element out of licensed gambling facilities.”
What did the investigations reveal?
An unnamed female employee of the casino brought large bags of $20 bills. The 45-year-old then used to give this money to her co-conspirators. They would buy-in games, play for a small period of time and cash out their positions with $100 bills. These suspects also have chips and cash to other patrons in the casino and charged them an exorbitantly high-interest rate.
A statement from the Commission suggests that the female employee would deliberately target employees who showed signs of problem gambling. Several of her victims were minimum wage earners and had a hard time paying off the 10-15% interest on the loans she gave them. Her co-conspirators included her 27-year-old boyfriend and some associates who used “fear tactics and threatened violence” to collect their dues from the victims.
In March, a Seattle-based radio station KOMO reported that they had loaned money to 100 people, including casino patrons and employees. They also laundered $1.5 million via the casino. The perpetrator of the scheme had gaming platforms, smartphones, tablets, fancy handbags, jewels, a big TV and a fancy car at her home. They also seized $45,000 in cash. The employee was charged with the use of extortionary means for collection debt, unlawful debt, and money laundering. She is also facing a criminal case.
After receiving evidence, they debarred the venue owners from operating gambling venues in the state. The Commission seized the licenses of seven public cardroom employees. Four other licenses are pending revocation.