VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – New steps to crack down on money laundering in BC’s higher-volume casinos include closer monitoring of any transactions worth more than $10,000 dollars.
Attorney General David Eby says 24-hour supervisors are being hired and so-called “high roller” gamblers will be subjected to increased scrutiny.
“There are existing regulators who will be available to do these shifts as necessary, but we will need to add additional staff in order to do that and there will be some training requirements, but it’s imminently doable. We believe that we should have everything in place, certainly, by the beginning of next year.”
A final report by former senior RCMP officer Peter German is due in March, but Eby says he’s already found evidence that suspicious sources have been making large financial transactions at casinos.
“One of the concerns, certainly, is the possibility that as we tighten restrictions within the regulated and licensed casinos, that we’ll see increased activity in illegal sites and so, we will need the support of the RCMP and the integrated gaming team to address that.”
German was appointed after Eby reviewed a report disclosing suspicious behaviour at Richmond’s River Rock casino in 2015.
“There is cash coming from unknown illegitimate sources, that these are sizeable cash transactions. It may seem like common sense to British Columbians when someone shows up with a duffel bag full of $20 bills or a hockey bag full of $20 bills, there’s some kind of a problem there.”
Eby admits the latest findings could lead to a loss of overall gaming profits.
“It’s not a small matter. There is a distinct possibility that recommendations coming from Mr. German will impact gaming revenues in the province. That is the price that the Premier has been clear to me that we are willing to pay in order to ensure that British Columbians can have the confidence that the proceeds of crime are not flowing through BC casinos.”
German’s interim recommendations have also been welcomed by the BC Gaming Industry Association.
Last month Eby gave the lottery corporation more authority to monitor the gaming industry with new service agreements aimed at strengthening security and compliance.