Industry Reports

Casino-Related Money-Laundering Report Raises Questions about BC Authorities’ Priorities

The new report issued in terms of money-laundering schemes associated with casino gambling in British Columbia raised some questions on the respond of the former Liberal Government of the province to the schemes which might have resulted in “washing” a massive amount of dirty money obtained illegally.

As it became clear at the time of the investigation, the former British Columbia Government was alerted that the employees at two casinos situated in the Vancouver suburbs were converting literally millions into chips as early as 2011. At the time the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) shared suspicions that some organized-crime groups have used a sophisticated money-laundering scheme.

At the time, Rich Coleman was the minister who oversaw the gambling portfolio. He, however, objected to the claims that local casinos could have been involved in money-laundering scheme carried out by some drug dealers to clean their cash. The minister then asked the head of the British Columbia office of civil forfeiture to investigate the issue, which a report on the matter issued later in 2011.

The 2011 report got no response either by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), which is supposed to control the gambling business in the province, nor the casino regulator of the province.

Some of these details were brought to light thanks to the independent investigation of which was carried out by Peter German in 2017 after the Attorney General of the province David Eby has initiated it.

More Reports of Illegal Gambling Lately

Although the report on money laundering at British Columbia casinos brought some of the investigation results to light, it also raised some question about the local authorities’ priorities in terms of financial crime.

As previously revealed by Casino Reports, the report of Mr. German showed in the period around 2012, the authorities prioritized dealing with ongoing and future threats, mostly related to terrorism. According to the report, then there was a sharp decline in the number of cases associated with commercial crime and the proceeds possibly generated as a result of such crime.

For the time being, the RCMP was aimed at dealing mostly with money laundering and commercial fraud, including illegal cash washing in local casino venues. The largest concentration of operational RCMP officers in Canada is currently in the Lower Mainland, with only a number of them being dedicated to investigating crime and money-laundering duties.

The British Columbia government had received reports of more than 280 gambling incidents which involved organized criminal groups, including two murders and a child abduction. The question why facilities related to such crimes were not shut down once and for all still remains, with the local authorities finally becoming more engaged in the problem. Reports of illegal gambling in the province have increased over the years, with the work of the unit which has been responsible for monitoring and control doing almost nothing.