Money Laundering Ruling
to Impact Online Gambling?
by Mira Patel, News Staff Writer
June 25, 2008
and casino gambling have long been associated with one
another. In the early days of Las Vegas when the mob
essentially ran everything, money laundering was simply
a part of the way things operated. These days, with
organized crime largely rooted out of gambling
activities, money laundering is something more likely to
be prevented, rather than uncovered.
In the world of
online gambling, you wouldn't be far off to assume that
money laundering does indeed take place, especially
amongst online sports betting operations taking and
transferring funds from players not protected by
regulatory legislation. In the U.S., where regulation is
not endorsed, you would think that money laundering is a
problem. And while that certainly is the case, many of
these operators are fortunately regulated elsewhere and
still abide by strict licensing regulations.
In other words,
U.S. facing online sportsbooks often launder money to
get around U.S. law, but still abide by their licensing
requirements, which in effect, protects the bettors from
unfair treatment. For U.S. bettors, however, they have
no recourse if something misfortunate befalls them,
which is precisely why it's important U.S. citizens only
gamble at reputable online establishments accepting U.S.
funds - not just any online casino claiming to accept
As you can see,
money laundering in this case (online casinos and
sportsbooks circumventing U.S. financial roadblocks) may
not necessarily be used to fund criminal activities,
which is often the stigma attached to the term. However,
a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling (which brings me to
the point of this article), may just help to erase that
In the Cuellar v.
United States case, the Supreme Court has reversed a
money laundering decision stating that merely smuggling
concealed money does not equate into "money laundering".
In order for the smuggling to be considered money
laundering, there must be proof of an attempt to
disguise the financial transaction so that it appears to
be involved in a legitimate and legal enterprise.
Whether this helps or hurts online casinos and
sportsbooks off the hook, remains to be seen. It is
certain, however, the US Department of Justice will have
to take a closer look on how it goes about collecting
evidence and pursuing its money laundering prosecutions
in the future.