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Casinos Challenged to Return Benefits of Crime


...Press Release...
April 23, 2008
Casinos Challenged to Return Benefits of Crime


The Problem Gambling Foundation is challenging Skycity to return stolen money spent at their casino.

Yesterday Christopher Sue was jailed for four and a half years for stealing $2.8 million from Turners Auctions to fund his gambling problem.

Problem Gambling Foundation CEO John Stansfield says the casino must have known Mr Sue had a problem.

"He had a loyalty card which would have recorded his spending.

"A responsible gambling operator would have intervened when they saw how much Mr Sue was losing."

Mr Stansfield says that the casino has a strong incentive to turn a blind eye when it comes to receiving stolen money.

"For most of us receiving the proceeds of crimes is risky. We face financial loss when the money or property is recovered and returned to its rightful owner. We could even be prosecuted if we knew what was going on.

"The same rules don't seem to apply to the casino. When they receive stolen money across their tables, or through their pokies, they get to keep it.

Mr Stansfield says he does not know exactly how much stolen money is laundered through the casino each year but it is likely to be a significant contributor to Skycity's profits.

"I think they would really hurt if they were stopped from receiving the proceeds of crime.

"We challenge Skycity casino shareholders to instruct their management to return all stolen money gambled. Rather than fattening their bottom line they should face up to their moral responsibilities."

Mr Stansfield says cases like Mr Sue's are reported regularly and according to a BDO Spicers survey the biggest reason for theft from community organisations was to fund gambling. A  KMPG Forensic Fraud Survey found theft to fund gambling is responsible for the largest amounts stolen from private sector businesses.

A review of problem gambling in prison populations found that one third of inmates met the criteria for problem gambling. Approximately 50% of crime committed by this group was to support gambling.

"We have a situation where businesses and community organisations are regularly getting ripped off, the taxpayer is forking out for court cases, and the costs of imprisonment, and the money is not being recovered," says Mr Stansfield.

"Everybody is losing except for the casino which is laughing all the way to the bank"





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