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United Nations releases report on crime-related links between casinos and crypto

Updated:2024-03-20 10:05    Views:170

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific has released a report finding that casinos, junkets and cryptocurrency have emerged as a key part of the underground banking and money laundering infrastructure in East and Southeast Asia. 

Highlighted in the study is the fact illegal online casinos, e-junkets and cryptocurrency exchanges have increased in recent years, while at the same time cross-border criminality has surged in the region. 

According to the report, online casinos and related businesses have been used by major organised crime groups to move and launder massive amounts of state-backed fiat, as well as cryptocurrencies. 

The cases looked at within the report also underline how illegal online casino operators have diversified business lines to include cyberfraud and cryptocurrency laundering.  

Recommendations are provided in the report to “improve knowledge, awareness, policy, capacity,Table games and coordination,” to help governments to address the situation. 

UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Jeremy Douglas, said: “Casinos and related high-cash-volume businesses have been vehicles for underground banking and money laundering for years, but the explosion of underregulated online gambling platforms and crypto exchanges has changed the game. 

“Expansion of the illicit economy has required a technology-driven revolution in underground banking to allow for faster anonymised transactions, commingling of funds, and new business opportunities for organized crime. The development of scalable, digitised casino - and crypto-based solutions has supercharged the criminal business environment across Southeast Asia and particularly in the Mekong.” 

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