Casino laws will be changing fast as BCLC’s David Eby says ‘No More!’ to money laundering.
Times, they are a’changing, and so are the casino gambling laws of British Columbia, Canada. That’s according to Attorney General David Eby. He’s entirely fed up with the rampant money laundering that’s been taking place at BC casinos, and aims to stop it, swiftly and effectively.
Over the summer, following 16 years of Liberal rule, the BC government was overtaken by Premier John Horgan’s New Democratic Party (NDP). That’s when everything began to change. The NDP immediately discovered a paper trail of illicit money laundering through BC casinos they claim had been buried by the Liberals.
In September, Eby appointed former RCMP commissioner Peter German to conduct a probe into the matter. German’s final report isn’t due until March of 2018, but he’s already come back with two strong recommendations, and Eby intends to implement them both “as soon as possible”.
New Casino Laws To Stop Money Laundering
German’s first recommendation is to initiate stricter declaration policies for large cash deposits from BC’s gaming service providers (GSPs). The GSPs are the private corporations the British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC) has authorized to run the day-to-day managerial operations of its land-based casinos.
It will become mandatory for all GSPs to complete Source of Funds Declarations for all cash deposits and/or bearer bonds of $10,000 or more. Additionally, if any customer makes two consecutive transactions, GSPs will not be able to accept any further deposits from that customer until and unless the GSP determines the money “is not of a suspicious illegal nature”.
The second recommendation is that a staff member from the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch (GPEB) be implanted at all “large, high-volume facilities”. These special staff members must be available at all hours to ensure “increased vigilance” by GSPs over “source of funds, third-party cash drops”, and other transactional matters.
Eby said on Tuesday that he intends to enforce both of German’s preliminary recommendations. They will be “not only implemented as soon as possible, but enforced on the ground”.
Casino Gambling Laws Failed Under Liberals
The obligation to report all transactions of $10k+ is nothing new. Making sure that these documents are submitted, and reviewed, and followed up on by the appropriate agencies? That’s been the missing piece to the puzzle for so many years.
Under the former Liberal government, no one bothered to enforce anti-money laundering laws. According to NDP, they were too keen on the mass revenue from BC’s gambling market.
Controversy has existed for years, but the situation came to a head over the summer when officials uncovered a slew GPEB documents revealing suspicious claims that were never scrutinized. The River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, under the operational wing of GSP Great Canadian Gaming Corp, is at the heart of the scandal.
The GPEB report highlights millions of dollars worth of suspect money laundering by Chinese VIP gamblers. However, no one bothered to stop and ask questions. The activities were simply permitted and/or covered up. Money laundering was so rampant, in fact, that the link between BC casinos and Chinese underground banks became known worldwide as ‘The Vancouver Model‘ for casino money laundering.
Eby to Enforce Non-Compliance Penalties Against GSPs
The Attorney General is not playing around. Eby told the press that the province’s new operational services agreement allows BCLC to withhold commission payments from GSPs, or suspend their licence altogether.
Eby said that enforcement of penalties was “very rare” in the past. Under the new casino laws, suspension of payment or licence will only be invoked if the operator is found to be “substantially out of compliance”, but that they will be invoked in such cases. He’s is certain that “tying penalties to the commissions is a way to get their attention”.