Macau Casino, a card room operator in Tukwila, Washington, has received a $1.25m penalty from the state Gambling Commission following an investigation into loansharking and money laundering at the casino.
The state also barred the casino’s two owners from participation in future gambling activities in the state and revoked licenses from seven employees of the card room, with four other license revocations still pending.
According to the Washington State Gambling Commission, the investigation — which started in 2016 — found that an employee of the casino was bringing large bags of $20 bills into the casino to give to other members of the money laundering operation.
These individuals would then gamble the money before cashing out with $100 bills.
In addition, the same employee was found to have loaned cash and chips to players at “exorbitant interest rates.”
The Commission’s findings noted that the employee “frequently targeted patrons and employees who clearly had gambling problems”. The employee and her boyfriend frequently used intimidation and “fear tactics” to collect on the debts, it added.
“This penalty sends a message to those involved in the investigation, as well as others in the industry,” Washington State Gambling Commission director Dave Trujillo said. “We will take necessary steps to keep the criminal element out of licensed gambling facilities.”
The employee has been arrested and charged with unlawful debt, money laundering, and the use of extortionate means to collect extensions of credit.