Casino News

Is Ontario the Next Money Laundering Safe Haven?

Money laundering has been a topic of wide discussion across the Canadian provinces but work on the subject has to happen in a simultaneous manner. While British Columbia works on its draconian measures battling the illegal practice, Ontario might have attracted the criminals laundering dirty cash. Suspicious cash transactions in Ontario casinos increased by 50 percent in 2018.

Casino locations are among the most attractive venues for criminals willing to launder the cash proceeds of their illegal operation. Over the years, British Columbia has been considered the province offering the best conditions for laundering cash, due to its lax regulation and the blind eye it turns to suspicious transactions taking place along with the gambling operation. Ontario might have become a safe haven for criminals willing to launder cash.

Money Laundering in Ontario

The year 2018 witnessed a concerning amount of suspicious transactions coinciding with gambling at Ontario’s casino venues. British Columbia launched its crackdown on money laundering in 2018 and the criminals might have looked for other locations where their criminal practice could continue with the same frequency. Calvin Chrustie, a former Senior RCMP Officer, stated that criminals identify the weak spots in the system.

Ontario’s casino field might have become the next great opportunity for money laundering, as the number of suspicious transactions over CA$10,000 has increased over the span of 2018. There were 2,266 transactions reported to the Ontario Provincial Police, as Global News reported. It should be taken into account, that back in 2017, the number of suspicious transactions was only 945. Such an increase is enough to sound the alarm in Ontario.

Another thing to be considered is the trend continuing in 2019 as well. By July 2019, the number of suspicious and potentially criminal transactions within Ontario reached 1,327. Ontario’s Government should work on solidifying its regulations making money laundering impossible, as it could potentially follow the infamous path of British Columbia. The reduction of money laundering in British Columbia might spell disaster for Ontario.

Illegal Practices

In the early spring of 2018, British Columbia Attorney General David Eby issued a statement that the first months of 2018 witnessed a significant slump in suspicious transactions within the province. They reached CA$200,000 in February 2018. He also pointed out that this figure managed to make it to the CA$20 million mark back in July 2015. But could money laundering be making its way to Ontario’s gambling venues?

The money-laundering crackdown in British Columbia is following the recommendations made by the Dirty Money report issued by former Senior Mountie Commissioner Peter German. As many as 48 ways in which money laundering could be battled were listed in his report, eyeing the elimination of this criminal practice. The Lower Mainland casino venues were also in the center of attention, with more details unearthed.

In the meantime, February 24 is about to see the official launch of public hearings led by the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering. The Federal Court of Canada in Vancouver would see four days of conversation by some of the leaders in the regional and national gaming field. Both individuals and corporations have been granted standing in the public hearing process, allowing them to share their experience, thoughts, as well as call witnesses for further conversation.