Canada casinos VIP Host takes fall for money laundering in BC.
The investigation into a money laundering scandal at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, British Columbia continues. The most recent media headlines are reporting the termination of the Canadian casino’s VIP host, Lisa Gao.
Ms. Gao wasn’t exactly fired by her employers, but rather de-registered by the British Columbia Lottery Corp (BCLC). The provincial gaming regulator requires all casino employees in an executive position to be registered with the BCLC. Her de-registration signifies present ineligibility for employment in the BC gaming industry.
Lisa Gao was the Director of VIP Guest Relations at Great Canadian Gaming‘s River Rock Casino. According to her former profile on Linkedin, she’s been an employee of the BC casino since 2012. Prior to de-registration, her job description was working “closely with all key department heads,” and the oversight of “daily operations of all high-limit areas on property.”
Violation of BCLC Anti-Money Laundering Rules
The BCLC confirmed an investigation into an employee of the casino back in November. Due to privacy rules, the name of that employee is confidential. Even now, the BCLC and FinTrac, Canada’s anti-money laundering watchdog, refuse to state whether Ms. Gao is or was under investigation.
Her temporary de-registration in January, followed by a review and determinant de-registration on February 2, are fairly conclusive. Reports indicate that, as the casino’s VIP host, Ms. Gao made a phone call to a third-party lender to arrange a cash delivery for a VIP gambler.
That action constitutes a direct violation of BC’s anti-money laundering regulations.
Canada Casino’s VIP Host Taking the Fall?
There’s no argument here that River Rock’s former VIP host was guilty violating the BCLC’s anti-money laundering guidelines. But no one else has been named, or lost their job due to the investigation that’s been ongoing since September of last year.
Great Canadian Gaming (GCG), which operates the casino, has taken no heat for the millions of dollars worth of evident money laundering that took place at River Rock for the past few years. No other executives have had their names plastered across the newspapers, or their employment eligibility revoked.
It certainly seems Ms. Gao is taking the fall for allegations. But according to a statement from the gaming regulator, that might change in the very near future.
GCG May Feel BCLC’s Wrath Come March
A recent report from GCG notes:
|“Gaming regulators may refuse to issue or renew, or may suspend or terminate, the company’s registration if the company, or a director, officer employee or associate … is considered to be a detriment to the integrity or lawful conduct or management of gaming; no longer meets a registration requirement; has breached or is in breach of a condition of registration …”|
Postmedia requested a comment from the Ministry of Attorney General regarding the current circumstances. A spokesperson confirmed that GCG’s corporate registration will expire on March 31, 2018. Furthermore, the regulator says, GCG’s “renewal application is currently under review by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.”
This form of due diligence is a requirement of registration that takes place “every five years for all class A casino service providers,” says the BCLC. “The review of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is unrelated to any allegations of money-laundering activities.”
If BC’s enforcement branch finds that GCG was guilty of any misconduct, under regulatory rules, the company may not be eligible for renewal.
If BC’s enforcement branch finds that GCG was guilty of any misconduct, then under regulatory rules, the company may not be eligible for renewal. Otherwise, the Canada casino’s VIP host may be the only one to take the fall for years worth of misconduct.