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Casinos in Vegas begin to go cashless

MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts no longer allow cash at their poker tables, a push that possibly reflects that casino operators are trying to step up their anti-money laundering efforts. Though the companies have not disclosed details around the policy, news site Vegas Inc says some experts think the change is motivated by a desire from casinos, facing pressure from financial regulators, to keep a closer eye on the money moving through their properties.

“This change is a result of one of our regular reviews of our policies and procedures, and puts our poker room operation in line with how we operate our other table games,” said MGM Resorts spokesman Gordon Absher in a statement. A Wynn Resorts spokesman confirmed the change, but said he didn’t have any additional comment.

According to Vegas Inc, Chris Grove, publisher of the Online Poker Report, said that poker tables going cashless can likely be understood in an anti-money laundering context. “Poker is unique in the modern casino, as it’s one of the few ways that money can be wagered without being first converted into chips or credits,” Grove said.

“In practical terms, it’s the only way you could legally win (or lose) large amounts of cash at a casino without ever entering into the auditable financial flow of the casino.”

A spokeswoman for the Venetian and Palazzo said in an email that the resorts are “reviewing our current policies and procedures” in light of MGM and Wynn’s changes.

Casinos are  required by law to report transactions that exceed $10,000, and they have to file other reports if they suspect that a patron is spending money tied to illegal activity.


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