Federal authorities have lowered the boom on California’s Normandie Casino for helping high-rolling gamblers dodge financial reporting requirements.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Normandie Casino’s owners had pled guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. The casino stood accused of failing to adequately document a series of large-scale transactions in 2013.
The Times quoted court documents showing that the casino in Gardena had reached a plea agreement requiring it to forfeit $1.3m in illicit earnings related to the transactions. The casino’s managing partners will pay a further $1m in federal fines to atone for their transgressions.
The shenanigans documented in the filing include casino staff helping gamblers avoid federal reporting requirements by splitting high-value transactions into smaller amounts in order to get under the federal $10k reporting threshold. The casino also failed to flag cash transactions that it “had reason to suspect” were related to money laundering.
The casino reportedly failed to record identifying information of a single player who won more than $1m at the casino within a six-week period. In other cases, casino staff entered the names of “independent gaming promoters” instead of the actual gamblers.
The Normandie is the second California gaming venue to be spanked by federal financial watchdogs in as many months. In December, the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) ordered the Oaks Card Club in Emeryville to pay $650k for similar violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
The Oaks case was the first time FinCEN had brought an action against a California gaming venue, but with the agency keeping a closer eye on the industry in recent years, the Normandie likely won’t be the last.