California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has issued a settlement of $3.15m against Hawaiian Gardens Casino. The state’s second largest card room was found to have misled gambling regulators and violated the Bank Secrecy Act, a federal law intended to combat money laundering. 

The casino also failed to disclose a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) investigation into its practices and attempted to deceive the California Department of Justice for years, said a statement from Becerra’s office. 

“There’s no excuse for failing to comply with the law and deliberately attempting to mislead regulators,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In the gaming world, if you fail to play by the rules, expect to pay the price. Hawaiian Gardens Casino is paying the price. At the California Department of Justice, we will do all we can to prevent the marriage of money laundering and casinos.”

Under the Gambling Control Act of 1998, casinos are required to make full and true disclosure to gambling regulators. 

However, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino failed for years to report, reveal, or disclose to the Bureau of Gambling Control (BGC) that: FinCEN or any other federal agency was examining the casino with respect to the Bank Secrecy Act; that the casino and FinCEN were involved in negotiations that could result in the casino’s admission of Bank Secrecy Act violations; and that, as part of the settlement they reached, the casino admitted to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. 

During the time of this investigation, Hawaiian Gardens submitted, under penalty of perjury, multiple applications for license renewals to BGC, all of which failed to disclose any of this information. Yet, when BGC requested information from Hawaiian Gardens in August of 2016, the casino claimed that it had “always engaged in frank and honest dialogue with the regulators”.