MGM Mirage rapped by Nevada Gaming Board
By paul
The anti-online gambling lobby take note: Land based casinos are more likely to violate anti-money laundering regulations. At least, that’s the way things seem in light of a two-month investigation by the Nevada Gaming Control board that revealed widespread and serious violations of state anti-money laundering regulations by The Mirage.

The investigation, completed Tuesday, found that almost 15,000 required reports went unfiled over a period of 18 months, Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said.

However, Neilander said the investigation showed no criminal actions by the resort.

'As a result of our investigation it doesn't appear that there was any money-laundering activities,' Neilander said.

However, Neilander said the incidents must be taken very seriously by state regulators because of the amount of unfiled reports, the time period over which the failures to file took place, the number of individuals who knew about the problem and took no action, and the failure of internal auditing procedures to catch the infractions.

The fine for failing to submit the reports is $25,000 per count, but Neilander declined to comment Tuesday on what kind of fine or other action may be taken against MGM Mirage, which owns The Mirage.

Industry insiders have said it is unlikely the state will impose the maximum total fine of $375 million. The Mirage's annual cash flow in 2002 was $152 million.

Meanwhile, online casinos are being hounded by anti-gambling zealots in Washington on the grounds that online gambling transactions are a conduit for money laundering. The US Patriot act has been invoked against PayPal on such grounds, depriving online casinos of a popular method of transacting wagers.

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