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Feb 24, 2005


Money laundering is the conversion of money derived from criminal activity to hide its illegal origin. Criminals can spend $10,000 of illegal money for chips, gamble a little, trade the chips back in for new, unmarked money.

"Casinos can play a significant role
in money laundering"

Miriam Miquelon, U.S. attorney for Southern Illinois

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Illinois riverboat casinos are especially vulnerable because they have no loss limits, which means drug traffickers gamble away tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes against their casino accounts. In contrast, gamblers on Missouri boats may lose a maximum of $500 every two hours.*

*"The absence of loss limits is a major reason
St. Louis-area drug dealers flock to the
Alton Belle and Casino Queen"

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Holtshouser
Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis.

"When you're in St. Louis and you've got a choice between Missouri and Illinois, if you're trying to launder money, you might choose Illinois," Holtshouser said.

Source: MIKE FITZGERALD, Belleville News-Democrat

*Definition of the $500 Loss Limit: Under Missouri Law, casino gamblers can lose up to $500 every two hours. If a gambler loses $500 before the two hours are up, he/she must stop gambling. When the two hour time period has passed, they are free to lose another $500. This allows a gambler to lose $6,000 per day, $42,000 per week in Missouri casinos.