Nevada casinos confiscate around $40k in counterfeit cash every week, according to a new US government study. Last week saw the release of the Treasury Department’s national money laundering risk assessment, which is viewable here (the casino section starts on page 74), although be forewarned that it often reads like a hypochondriac’s database of things that could go wrong.
The phony cash claim comes via the Secret Service, who linked the counterfeiters with ‘minimal gaming,’ where gamblers make major cash deposits but cash out for a casino check or a wire transfer after minimal play.
The most commonly reported suspicious activity at Nevada casinos was structuring transactions so they fly under federal reporting limits, and most of this structuring happens at the sportsbooks.
But the “most significant money laundering vulnerability” at US casinos lies in their international expansion. The government fears gamblers who establish accounts with international operators will be allowed to access “foreign funds of questionable origin” via US casinos. The report specifically cites Las Vegas Sands’ $47.4m settlement for accepting dodgy deposits from alleged Mexican drug traffickers.