Industry Reports

New Anti-Money Laundering Measures Blamed for Falling BC Casino Revenue in H1 2018

The new anti-money laundering requirements in British Columbia are being blamed by casino owners for a decline registered in the gaming revenue of the River Rock and Parq casinos.

According to financial results which have been recently revealed by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCCC), a decline was registered in British Columbia gambling revenues over the first half of 2018, partly because of the falling profits of the River Rock Casino in Richmond. The company confirmed that a decline was registered in money earned at the casino’s gaming tables and blamed the new requirement under which BC casinos have to report the source of cash deposits or bearer bonds which amount to over CA$10,000.

The new anti-money laundering rules, which resulted in negative business impacts and higher regulatory costs, were also cited as one of the main reasons that affected the performance of the Parq Casino in Vancouver over the first six months of 2018.

Neither one of the two casino operators would provide more detailed information about the losses attributable directly to the new money-laundering rules’ implementation. Earlier this month, Dundee Corp., which currently operates the Parq casino in Vancouver, released some financial reports according to which the gambling venue lost CA$80 million in the first half of 2018. Great Canadian, on the other hand, suffered a decline estimated at more than CA$6.5 million in the period.

Suspicious Monetary Transactions Fall from CA$20 Million to CA$200,000

The Attorney General of British Columbia, David Eby, however, did not apologize for imposing the new anti-money laundering requirements. He also reported that suspicious monetary transactions in BC casinos saw a mind-blowing decline from a record high of CA$20 million in July 2015 to CA$200,000 in March 2018, following the implementation of the new rules.

The new anti-money gambling regulatory rules were officially announced towards the end of December 2017 as a response to recommendations made in the independent review of the former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) deputy commissioner Peter German.

As Casino Reports has previously revealed, the Government of British Columbia launched the independent review of the industry as a result of allegations that local casinos have been participating in massive money-laundering schemes, which also involved Chinese VIP players purchasing casino chips with money that could be related to criminal organizations. According to a report ordered by the BC Lotteries Corp. (BCLC) which was provided by MNP LLP, an overall amount of CA$13.5 million was accepted in July 2015 in CA$20 bills by the River Rock Casino.

At the time when his final report on the matter was published at the end of June 2018, Mr. German revealed that some casino venues in the Lower Mainland were used to laundering money associated with certain illegal activities, including real estate transactions and drug trafficking.