Late last month, Postmedia News reported that British Columbia gaming authorities revoked the registration of Lisa Gao, a River Rock Casino employee who oversaw all high-limit betting operations at the gambling property. The employee de-registered by B.C.’s gaming policy and enforcement branch allegedly violated Canada’s anti-money laundering policies. The decision to de-register Ms. Gao was announced to be preliminary. According to the latest news, the final review found Ms. Gao guilty of bypassing anti-money laundering regulations.
Last November, the enforcement branch began investigating an employee at River Rock Casino following allegations of “third-party cash buy-ins” that violated anti-money-laundering regulations. Eventually, the branch reviewed the employee’s registration and decided to de-register the employment. As aforementioned, the decision was preliminary and a final review was underway.
On 2nd February this year, Michael Kim, River Rock’s general manager of casino operations reportedly sent a note to the casino employees to inform them about Ms. Gao’s departure. The announcement came shortly after the enforcement branch decision was reviewed and confirmed. Some time ago, officials explained that Ms. Gao cannot continue performing her duties as a VIP host at River Rock Casino without having a registration from the branch.
The Story Behind Ms. Gao’s Revocation of Registration
According to the allegations, Ms. Gao was involved in a third-party cash buy-ins, which violates B.C. Lottery Corp. and FinTRAC directives (Canada’s anti-money laundering watchdog). Under Canada’s anti-money laundering policy, British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is responsible for filing suspicious transaction reports at B.C. casinos to FinTRAC.
According to Gao’s LinkedIn profile, she has worked as a director of VIP gambler relations at River Rock Casino since 2012. Postmedia News has attempted to reach Ms. Gao through her profile for a comment, but the media’s efforts remained unsuccessful. Following the announcement of her de-registration, Ms. Gao changed her presentation on her profile, stating that she worked “closely with all key department heads … (and oversaw) daily operations of all high-limit areas on property”.
As it can be recalled, last year River Rock Casino found itself at the heart of a serious controversy after the newly-elected B.C. government publicized a controversial report alleging rampant money laundering activities at River Rock Casino. According to the report, the casino workers were prone to accepting suspicious cash that was provided to VIP gamblers by lenders.
The big cash flowing into River Rock Casino sparked money-laundering probe. Peter German, a former deputy commissioner of the RCMP and Correctional Service Canada, has been asked to conduct an independent investigation and present interim recommendations to stop money laundering in B.C. casinos. German’s report is due by March 2018. B.C. Attorney General David Eby pledged to do whatever it takes to fight the malicious money laundering practice that infected B.C. thriving gambling industry with criminal money.