Earlier in 2018, a crackdown on British Columbia casinos was rolled out as a result from the reports that many high-roller players had poured a massive amount of cash at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver but the source of the funds had not been reported. These findings fuelled massive investigation in the industry, with international criminal organizations being proven to have been using the province’s casinos as “laundromats” for washing dirty money.
According to The Tri-City News, a total amount of CA$2.5 million in cash transactions of more than CA$10,000 each were accepted by the Coquitlam casino from its gambling patrons in the period between 2016 and 2017.
— Diane Strandberg (@DstrandbergTC) September 26, 2018
However, as a result of the scandalous findings of the large cash transactions in British Columbia casinos and the investigation which was later rolled out, local authorities imposed stricter reporting rules in January 2018. Under these rules, high-roller players who want to gamble an amount exceeding CA$10,000 are now required to provide evidence documenting the source of their money. In case they are not able to do that, their cash transactions are turned away.
Still, the number of large cash transactions (the ones exceeding CA$10,000 each) have been relatively small, especially in comparison with the ones taken by the River Rock Casino in Richmond. The latter was proven to have accepted more than CA$13.5 million in cash in a single month back in 2015. In addition, the Hard Rock Casino continued to accept big money transactions in 2016/2017 with money coming from unknown sources.
Currently, casinos are obliged to provide the BC Lottery Corp. (BCLC) and Fintrac with reports on cash transactions amounting to more than CA$10,000 in order for background checks on casino patrons to be carried out.
Suspicious Transactions Made by Patrons at Coquitlam Casino, Too
The information about the above-mentioned money transactions was included in reports to the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch Compliance Division (GPEB). The documents cited by The Tri-City News covered the period from January 2015 to May 2018.
According to information revealed in the reports, the suspicious cash transactions in 2015 amounted to approximately CA$57,000, with their amount soaring up to CA$1.48 million in 2016. In 2017, the suspicious cash transactions totaled CA$1.051 million.
As revealed in the documents cited above, a cash buy-in of CA$70,020 in CA$20 bills was made at a high-limit table on January 7th, 2016. The transaction was later boosted with a further CA$2,000 in CA$20 bills. There were also patrons making large cash stakes, with their occupations being far from the size of the transactions made, as well as other which literally brought suitcases full of CA$100 bills.
According to the reports, the largest cash buy-in was an CA$81,000 cash transaction in the high-limit room, with the amount handed over in CA$100 bills.
The investigation also showed that there were no indications that local police were called in to check any of the large-cash transactions made at the BC casinos. The sources of the funds wagered by high-rollers still remain unknown. Instead, sometimes, casino staff stepped in and refused to let a certain player play at the casino. According to filings, five incidents where individuals made an attempt to cash out with minimal or no pay were recorded. There was also one case of suspected money laundering identified at a slot machine.