The recent surprising facts about Crown casino’s operations and alleged money laundering raise important issues for Australian policymakers.
These reports have raised worrying links between Crown casino and the Chinese underworld that is closely related to the high-roller gambling market.
Unfortunately, the situation is even worse. The reports focus on Crown and Australia, but we are just one part of widespread involvement of Chinese criminal gangs in the Asia-Pacific casino industry.
The links between casinos across the region and criminal gangs often referred to as Triads, are well-documented and appear to be deepening.
Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, the problems associated with Chinese criminal gangs in the high-roller casino market are even more worrying.
Hun Sen’s government in Cambodia is betting on a casino and property-led expansion, based on attracting the Chinese high-roller market.
Organized crime, money laundering, and capital flight are rampant in Cambodia and are likely to worsen as Hun Sen further aligns Cambodia to China’s geopolitical orbit.
The Philippines under President Duterte is also following a casino-led path oriented to the Chinese high-roller market.
Other countries are also scrambling to expand casinos in a gold rush to attract Chinese high rollers.
Governments across the Asia-Pacific region are in a race to the bottom in deregulating their respective casino industries.
As the recent reports document, state and federal governments have helped facilitate the expansion of the high-roller market despite its long-term association with organised crime and money laundering.
The common threads in government policy across the region is that governments want more tax revenue and more employment, despite the issues that accompany growth.