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Casinos and cryptocurrency: major drivers of money laundering, underground banking, and cyberfraud in East and Southeast Asia

2024-01-15, UNODC


Bangkok (Thailand), 15 January 2023 – A new report issued today has found that casinos, junkets, and cryptocurrency have emerged as a critical piece of the underground banking and money laundering infrastructure in East and Southeast Asia, fuelling transnational organized crime in the region.
Titled ‘Casinos, Money Laundering, Underground Banking, and Transnational Organized Crime in East and Southeast Asia: A Hidden, Accelerating Threat’, the study highlights the nexus between illegal online casinos, e-junkets, and cryptocurrency exchanges that have proliferated in recent years alongside surging cross-border criminality throughout the region.
“Casinos and related high-cash-volume businesses have been vehicles for underground banking and money laundering for years, but the explosion of underregulated online gambling platforms and crypto exchanges has changed the game,” said Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. “Expansion of the illicit economy has required a technology-driven revolution in underground banking to allow for faster anonymized transactions, commingling …