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Home » News » Press Releases » Gambling Commission agrees to $1.25 million settlement with card room owners to resolve money laundering and loansharking allegations

Gambling Commission agrees to $1.25 million settlement with card room owners to resolve money laundering and loansharking allegations

Posted on:  October 15, 2019

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Gambling Commission has signed a settlement agreement with Macau Casino, LLC in response to an investigation into a loansharking and money laundering operation at two of its casinos. Macau Casino, LLC’s $1.25 million payment will, in part, reimburse the agency for investigative and administrative costs.

“This penalty sends a message to those involved in the investigation, as well as others in the industry,” said Washington State Gambling Commission Director Dave Trujillo. “We will take necessary steps to keep the criminal element out of licensed gambling facilities.”

A joint investigation with the Tukwila Police Department began in 2016 after we received numerous complaints regarding loansharking and money laundering activities at Macau Casino’s Tukwila and Lakewood locations. The investigation revealed that a female employee was bringing large bags of $20 bills into the casino and giving the money to co-conspirators to buy-in on games. They would play for a brief period of time before cashing out for $100 bills.

The suspect also loaned cash and chips to casino patrons and charged exorbitant interest rates on the loans. She frequently targeted patrons and employees who clearly had gambling problems. Many of them were earning minimum wage and struggled just to pay the monthly or weekly interest (10 – 15%) owed on the loans. The suspect, her boyfriend and other associates utilized fear tactics and threatened violence in order to collect on debts.

The 45-year-old female suspect was arrested and charged with unlawful debt, money laundering, and use of extortionate means to collect extensions of credit. Her criminal case is pending.

In addition to the monetary penalty, the two owners have been barred from participation in any future gambling activities in Washington. We have also revoked licenses from seven public card room employees. Revocations for four additional employees are still pending.

Media Contact: 

Heather Songer
Public Information Officer
Washington State Gambling Commission
(360) 486-3485 desk
(360) 584-2877 cell
heather.songer@wsgc.wa.gov