top of page
  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Chinese-Owned Southeast Asian Casinos Used For Money Laundering

The presence of casinos facilitating money laundering is not a coincidence.


Casinos effectively operate as a "shadow banking system" that enables individuals to swiftly transfer money from one jurisdiction to another with minimal restrictions.



According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), numerous gambling operations across Southeast Asia have become integral components of an extensive underground banking system that serves organized criminal groups.


While the research has not been published, the agency shared its findings with Cezary Podkul of ProPublica.



In a report for ProPublica published on October 4, 2023, Podkul revealed that there are now over 340 physical casinos scattered across Southeast Asia, and many of these establishments are showing increasing levels of infiltration by organized crime, as per UNODC.


These casinos effectively operate as a "shadow banking system" that enables individuals to swiftly transfer money from one jurisdiction to another with minimal restrictions.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

Jeremy Douglas, UNODC's top official in Southeast Asia, emphasized that this has made money laundering "easier than ever before" and has been "fundamental to the expansion of the transnational criminal economy" in the region, particularly within the realm of cybercrime.


Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

As previously reported by ProPublica in the prior year, Southeast Asia has emerged as a significant hub for cryptocurrency investment scams, often originating from seemingly innocuous text messages that lure victims into scams.


These messages typically originate from casino towns in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, where syndicates entice individuals with promises of lucrative job opportunities.


Entrepreneurship: Business woman smiling, working and reading from mobile phone In front of laptop in the financial district.

UNODC's map of known scam locations aligns with gambling hubs in Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. These regions have seen widespread allegations of forced online scam labor, a problem that Interpol described as occurring on "an industrial scale."


Banking & finance: Business man in suit and tie working on his laptop and holding his mobile phone in the office located in the financial district.

Online casinos are readily used for money laundering, as they frequently accept cryptocurrency deposits that can be converted into virtual chips and used for bets or cashed out in conventional currency.


This makes the funds appear as proceeds from legitimate gambling activities, and this method of money laundering is becoming increasingly common in Southeast Asia.




Optimize asset flow management and real-time inventory visibility with RFID tracking devices and custom cloud solutions.
Sweetmat disinfection mat

Comments


bottom of page