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Aussie Whistleblower Spills Beans, ClubsNSW Retaliates

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One of the largest trade groups within the Australian gambling ecosystem, ClubsNSW, is suing a former employee who exposed certain truths about money laundering taking place at some of the clubs it represents. It was earlier on in the year that Troy Stolz opted to reveal in-depth details about a widespread practice taking place within the clubs where anti-money-laundering laws were being purposely ignored. His revelation has since caused issues for both the organisation and its members, and due to this, ClubsNSW seems to be intending to hold Stolz accountable for it.

Of course, it seems quite odd that the company that was breaking the law is suing someone for informing the authorities of their criminal activities. Yet, ClubsNSW is utilising an argument that states Stolz handed over internal documents to the government, which, they say, is a violation of his non-disclosure agreement.

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Stolz Discovers Former Employer’s Dodgy Dealings

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Stolz made the discovery about his employer while still working for them and proceeded to hand over an internal board document to parliamentary representative Andrew Wilkie. ClubsNSW represents around 1,200 gaming clubs, and it has since accused its former employee of breaking the non-disclosure agreement, following Mr. Wilkie giving a speech in front of Parliament regarding rampant amounts of money laundering.

Within that document, reports suggest that the majority of the 770 clubs under the umbrella of ClubsNSW were bypassing laws relating to anti-money laundering. In the process, they were also shirking their duties in relation to counter-terrorism laws. While making his speech to Parliament, brandishing the document handed over to him by Stolz, Mr. Wilkie stated that up to 95% of the gaming industry within Australia was guilty of not adhering to the rules in relation to both of these issues and more.

The document was supposedly written by an executive within the ClubsNSW organisation in May 2019. Once Stolz discovered it, he passed it on to the legislator, and then, in the process, it was released to several media outlets alongside. It was this that provided valid information on how customers were able to simply walk into gambling facilities in possession of large amounts of cash and not encounter any reaction from staff when quickly losing around 30% of the total.

Even more surprising is that, according to Stolz, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) had previously been informed of such irregularities being possible within ClubsNSW’s establishments but chose not to react to this information.

ClubsNSW Fires Back at Whistleblower

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Naturally, ClubsNSW was none too happy about the fact that certain uncomfortable truths had been exposed to the authorities. So in what can only be presumed as an act of vengeance, the organization chose to sue its former employee.

ClubsNSW is looking for Stolz to be held accountable for leaking internal documents, and in doing so, it seeks compensation via the Australian Corporations Act. Oddly enough, that same Act also protects whistleblowers, which would also relate to Stolz.

Naturally, if you use common sense, then a whistleblower is only able to be taken seriously if he provides inside information about dodgy dealings. Stolz did that with the documentation he handed over to Mr. Wilkie, and the Corporations Act has the stipulation that a whistleblower is actually free from what is determined as “criminal prosecution” in these circumstances – unless, of course, the disclosure was a false one. Additionally, that same Act frees whistleblowers from “civil litigation,” which pertains to breach of an employment contract, any duty of confidentiality, and other contractual obligations. Therefore, judging by this, Stolz can’t really be successfully sued by ClubsNSW.

For the moment, it hasn’t been stated how much money the organisation is looking to acquire from Stolz for his supposed breach of contract; yet, it doesn’t really seem like ClubsNSW has much of a case if any. The lawsuit does seem to provide information on exactly how misguided the management at ClubsNSW is, considering it has so much time and money to dedicate to a silly lawsuit against Stolz rather than placing a focus on trying to curb the operational decline of its members.

Australian Laws Against Online Gambling Misdirected?

It seems as though it’s not only the Australian live gambling operators that could do with policing themselves better. The government as a whole may also want to look into changing some of its views where gaming is concerned.

Canberra has placed such a heavy focus on banning and maintaining the blocking of online poker and casino sites that it seems to have turned all attention away from maintaining a safe and crime-free brick-and-mortar gambling scene in the country.

Following the introduction of new laws banning online gaming sites within Australia, which were agreed to in August of 2017, various companies pulled out of offering their services to Australian gamers. The PokerStars site halted all operations in the country by Sept. 11 of that year, while PartyPoker and 888 followed in the same footsteps shortly thereafter.

The country has placed a heavy focus on not only banning online poker and casino sites from offering their services to residents but in maintaining laws against them being made available again in any way. In fact, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has already blocked multiple online sites and domains relating to gaming companies, exercising its authority over Internet Service Providers to do so. That blacklist of prohibited gaming sites is frequently updated and maintained, meaning that a mass of sites is blocked (at least in theory) to Australian gamers.

Yet, it seems as though the authorities should place more of a focus on the live gambling sector. With public scrutiny heavily placed elsewhere, it looks like that sector gets away with not only more illegalities but crimes of a much more serious nature as well.

Money laundering is not something that should be ignored, and if land-based gambling operators are involving themselves in it to such a degree as Mr. Wilkie suggested, Australia could find itself having a big problem getting rid of it.

Those Who Don’t Learn from History Are Doomed to Suffer Repeats

It seems as though Australia is intent on falling victim to its own performance issues where gambling is concerned though. These latest money laundering revelations are not the first time that land-based establishments have been caught out trying to evade laws and regulations. You need only take a look at the issues discovered within Melbourne’s Crown Casino last year for another example of the same sort of thing.

The casino was the subject of high volumes of controversy when it was accused of money laundering and corruption, which extended to Australian consulate officials based in China. When this news broke, it raised multiple eyebrows over the legal and regulated operators providing their services within Australia’s casino sector.

Not only that, but those responsible for overseeing the industry had more than a few questions to answer about it, considering that it looked like the same people who had been working toward the banning of online gambling were also now in the firing line with regard to their honesty. Perhaps the presence of large live gambling lobbying groups, like ClubsNSW, within the political landscape is the explanation for both the banning of online operations and the laxity in enforcing laws against brick-and-mortar betting interests.

Online Sector Largely Uninvolved in These Shenanigans

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Online poker and casino gaming do still exist for Australian players via offshore sites despite the government’s focus on banning them. And to their credit, they have not yet been implicated in the kinds of flagrant illegality that their offline counterparts have become embroiled in.

Should you wish to play online poker at a trustworthy and respectable platform, we recommend that you read through our informative guide to online poker in Australia. Various high-quality poker rooms can be found within, including options like Ignition Casino and Poker.co.ag.