Bingo Money Laundering?

It seems that Mecca Bingo are vigilant when it comes to ensuring that money spent in their clubs is not the result of criminal activity. They recently banned a player from their Greenock hall under suspicion of money laundering. But, have they got it right?

Mecca employees ‘swooped’ on Linda Bannon while she was playing bingo in their club, apparently in front of everyone. They gave her the opportunity to prove that her money was from legitimate sources by suggesting that she provide proof in the form of bank statements, a pay slip or a P60 tax form, which she declined.

‘Money laundering’ is called ‘laundering’, because you ‘clean’ the money by moving from illegitimate to legitimate business. If you’ve ever been to a casino and watched the way money is thrown around you could be forgiven for thinking money is being laundered. However, the amounts thrown about in casinos (and we’re talking regular casinos, not even Aspinals) are far greater. Linda’s stated annual budget of £12,000 could easily get sucked up in a night’s play.

The point here being that if she was money laundering there are better ways of doing it… And chucking it at what is effectively a gambling machine (eBingo) is probably not the best method. And, if casinos are not checking the sources of such incredible amounts that get thrown at the roulette wheel why are bingo halls?

We should also point out that while it has been reported that Linda was spending an average of £450 a week totaling £12,000 a year these figures simply do not add up. We’re not sure where the 450 figure came from, but someone should definitely go back to school.

£450 x 50 weeks = £22,500. Whereas 12,000 / 50 weeks = £240 (we’ve given 2 weeks off for holidays). More.

On the one hand you have to ask how someone can spend that amount of money on bingo in a year (even if they are winning!). But, if Linda really is a criminal it’s highly unlikely that she would take her story to the press. And, besides, she claims to be winning almost as much as she is losing.

Mecca Bingo could either confirm or deny Linda’s assertion that overall she came out of the year almost level, which would clarify the situation as follows: if she is winning then she is either an extremely clever money launderer whose services will be shortly required by ‘Mr Big’, or, she is simply lucky and can afford to lose a couple of grand a year on a pastime that she has enjoyed for the past 32 years. Conversely, if she is losing all that money with no re-compensate winnings, ‘Mr Big’ will definitely not be requiring her services as she is the world’s worst launderer. That would be money ‘burning’, not laundering!

So, what do you think? Have Mecca got it right or wrong? Should they have swooped? And if yes, should it have been in front of the entire bingo crowd? Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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