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By Chiistophei Wakem
Becembei 1u, 2u1S

While Biik vennix of the Association
of Biitish Bookmakeis iecently took
issue with the accuiacy anu faiiness of
Ranueep Ramish's !"#$%&#' aiticle on
the link between gambling machines
anu money launueiing, the tiuth is Ni.
vennix himself makes a majoi jump in

The gist of Ni. Ramish's piece: uiug
uealeis thioughout Biitain aie using
fixeu-ouus betting teiminals in
bookmakei shops to launuei money by feeuing theii piofits into the machines,
losing a minuscule amount, cashing out, anu collecting a piinteu ticket that they can
show police shoulu any questions be iaiseu. The concein is that the machines aie
veiy lightly iegulateu, anu though bookmakeis aie awaie the machines aie being
useu foi this sinistei puipose, they aie hesitant to uo anything about it as F0BTs aie
so piofitable-the machines contiibuteu $1.4 billion to the betting inuustiy last yeai

In his iebuttal, Ni. vennix aigues that though money launueiing is a seiious anu
wiuespieau ciime that must be eiauicateu, bookmakeis can not possibly be seen as
the ioot of the pioblem. Accoiuing to his oiganization's ieseaich, less than u.S% of
suspicious inciuents iepoiteu to the Seiious 0iganiseu Ciime Agency involveu
bookmakei shops. Anu of all the betting tiansactions in the 0K, just 2Su cases (oi
u.uuuu1667%) weie suspecteu of wionguoing, only 1u% of which enueu up being
investigateu fuithei oi piosecuteu. Be aigues this is uue to stiingent anti-money-
launueiing iegulations the shops abiue by, incluuing the Pioceeus of Ciime Act, the
uambling Act, anu the Teiioiism Act.

Ni. vennix's aigument, though peisuasive, oveilooks a key fact highlighteu by
Ramish-that bookmakeis essentially iegulate themselves. They ueciue whethei oi
not to ban pioblem gambleis, call the police ovei suspicious behavioi, oi iepoit
witnesseu ciimes. A low numbei of suspicious inciuents iepoiteu oi investigateu
uoesn't necessaiily piove vennix's asseition that the iegulations aie woiking, in fact
it coulu play iight into Ni. Ramish's contention that the cases of wiong uoing aie
simply being ignoieu.