British Columbia Set To Enforce Strict New Rules at CasinosDecember 7, 2017 2:42 pm
British Columbia is set to roll out its tough new anti-money laundering regulations as it prepares to combat organized crime groups which the government believes have been using its provincial casinos to launder their ill-gotten money.
The situation appears to have come to a head after Attorney General David Eby received a set of recommendations from Peter German, who he had commissioned to undertake an independent review of British Columbia’s casino industry. On Tuesday, Eby then received two interim recommendations from German, including gamblers having to declare the source of their money on deposits of $10,000 or more, and the placing of gaming-enforcement investigators in full view at the province’s high-volume casinos.
British Columbia is Canada’s westernmost province, and its third largest with a population of 4.8 million people. Gambling is an important source of income for its local government, too, and in 2016-17 the industry generated C$3.1 billion in revenue, with around 45% or $1.39 billion of that amount subsequently funnelled into government coffers.
However, the spectre of money laundering activities reared its head a year earlier after the provincial Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch discovered that the River Rock Casino in Richmond had accepted C$13.5 million in twenty-dollar bills over the space of just one month. The regulator’s subsequent investigation also revealed that untraceable amounts of money were regularly being dropped off by unknown individuals at various casinos.
Amongst some of the more prevalent criminal gangs believed to be involved in money laundering scheme in British Columbia are underground Chinese banks with organized crime connections, as well as illegal drug groups operating across North America. In order to address these concerns, anyone depositing $10,000+ at provincial casinos will soon have to fill out a Source of Funds Declaration form, and as a government statement explains:
“At a minimum, the declaration must outline a customer’s identification and provide the source of their funds, including the financial institution and account from which the cash or bond was sourced. After two consecutive transactions, cash can only be accepted from the customer once it has been determined that it is not of a suspicious or illegal nature.”
While Eby said that the recommendations may end up negatively impacting gaming revenues in British Columbia, he highlighted the point that it was a price worth paying in order to “ensure that British Columbians have confidence that the proceeds of crime are not flowing through B.C. casinos.”