Casino Accused of Facilitating Money Laundering

The Gardens Casino, located just south of Los Angeles, is slated to reopen its doors by the end of January in order to show off more than $90 million worth of renovations. State gaming officials, on the other hand, are working their hardest to ensure that this does not take place. According to a case filed this past October by the California Bureau of Gambling Control, the casino as well as a few individuals who run the operation should be denied their casino license. The state contends that The Gardens Casino failed to disclose certain pieces of information to state authorities; pieces of information that were necessary for the casino to be compliant with regard to anti money-laundering laws.

Casino License At Stake

If the state’s case is proven to have any sort of legitimacy—which it already seems to have—the casino and its trustees may have their gambling licenses revoked. In the words of both state and Federal regulators, The Gardens Casino has already admitted that it has some inadequacies with regard to complying with Federal law. Though they did not go too much into detail about this, it is clear to see that The Gardens may have dug themselves into quite a hole already.

The case itself points out some of these inadequacies by saying, “In view of that nondisclosure and admitted violations of federal and state laws, respondents continued licensure undermines the public trust that licensed gambling does not endanger the public health, safety and welfare.” Essentially, the accusation is saying that the casino is currently operating in a way that does not comply with the law, and because of that their license should be taken away, at least until any deficiencies have been rectified.

Though a court date to address the state’s accusation has not been set, The Gardens is able to continue operating as normal thanks to provisional licensure. That license is good until near the end of 2018, so if the state takes their time in pressing the matter the Gardens may not see any sort of legal action taken anytime in the near future.

Previous Fines Point to Troubled Waters

A part of the Treasury Department known as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network took action against The Gardens Casino this past July when it levied a fine of almost $3 million against the gambling establishment. The fine was due to an IRS investigation which concluded that, because of a lack of reporting, the casino has set itself up in such a way that it can knowingly or unknowingly facilitate money-laundering and/or the financing of terroristic or otherwise illicit endeavors.

Though the individual problems were numerous, the most common and, perhaps, most dangerous has to do with the casino not really knowing who is involved in cash transactions. According to the Press Telegram, there were 15 suspicious activity reports filed against one, single casino-goer who is known to both the casino and the IRS by her first name only. The casino failed to do anything to ascertain her actual, legal identity, and as such they still cannot put a finger on who it was involved in these suspicious transactions. That alone would be enough for some casinos in certain states to have their license revoked. There were many other similar instances, and the whole situation really does well to prove that The Gardens is not concerned at all about following state nor Federal laws.

The casino responded to the above case by saying, basically, that they feared demanding too much information from patrons out of fear that those demands would cause patrons to frequent other, competing California casinos. Due to this fear, they simply neglected to follow the law. As was stated above, there is no court date set yet, but this case will be an interesting one to follow. The Gardens is still set to reopen by the end of January, however there are many people who feel as though the government may step in between now and then.