This week the 2014 Bank Secrecy Act took place in Las Vegas. In attendance were members from the banking industry, the casino industry, and members from the federal government. There were no doubt many topics covered at the event but one of them should be of particular interest to members of the marijuana industry. Federal regulators at the event said that casinos should not accept bets from members of the marijuana industry unless those particular customers passed an extensive background check, and have their bets monitored by the federal government.
In order for a casino to knowingly accept a bet from someone in the marijuana industry, it would need to perform what Dowling described as a “criminal background check” and then file reports every 90 days to federal regulators on the gambler’s activities.
Even then, the casinos cannot be certain the federal government will not pursue criminal or civil charges against them.
I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of such a thing being asked for members of any other legal industry in America. Yes, I get it, marijuana is illegal at the federal level. However, so are many other things that are legal at the state level yet are illegal at the federal level. Why is the marijuana industry being singled out? Assuming casinos wanted to follow the federal request, how would enforcement even be possible?
Are card dealers going to ask everyone when they first sit down at the table, ‘excuse me sir, are you a dispensary owner?’ Or, ‘maam, do you make medical marijuana edibles and sell them at a local co-op?’ What about ancillary marijuana business owners? Next time I sit down at a slot machine in Reno, is the pit boss going to come over and ask me to fill out a federal background check? This is absolutely ridiculous, and unrealistic. It’s yet another obvious attempt at the federal government trying to cling to failed public policy.