The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia made it possible for several officials to present their personal perspective on the suspicious activities in the gaming field of British Columbia over the years. Friday saw former BCLC Assistant Manager of Casino Surveillance John Karlovcec answer questions that Kaitlyn Chewka, a lawyer for B.C.’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch asked him.
Last week was an important one for the province in general, as it witnessed the unveiling of many details on the ways casino gaming took place back in the days. Money laundering at casino venues is one of the main concerns of the provincial government seeking better regulations and improved flow of information.
Friday saw Mr. Karlovcec answer some important questions linked to a particular situation that took place back in 2014. River Rock Casino in Richmond was the casino venue which was once again the center of attention for the Cullen Commission asking the questions. Lawyer Chewka wanted to know more about the casino patron who participated in in-person gambling in December 2014.
Back then, Mr. Karlovcec had written an email pointing out that a particular casino patron had entered the casino venue with some CA$360,000 in cash ready to gamble. That player had previously made several buy-ins with large sums in cash which have drawn the attention of the casino management. Across seven days of daily gambling, that individual introduced a total of CA$1.8 million ready to be gambled.
The amount was predominantly in CA$20 bills and other small bills, which is often recognized as one of the signs of money laundering in British Columbia. Mr. Karlovcec had noticed the suspicious pattern and addressed the issue in his email. During the Friday questioning by Ms. Chewka, he stated that these suspicious transactions of large amounts of cash were reported to GPEB and police, as well as to Fintrac.
Regardless of the report, Mr. Chewka pointed out that the Crown corporation was supposed to guide the casino operator and make impossible the acceptance of the buy-ins once they were introduced. December 26, 2014, was the first day that saw this casino patron come to gamble with substantial cash. Mr. Karlovcec answered that directing casino staff to launch a probe into this player was not within his authority.
He also made it clear that back in 2014, he collaborated with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, providing them with a list of the loan sharks operating at the River Rock Casino. He projected probes to be launched, but that did not happen when all was said and done. Mr. Karlovcec also pointed out that the information flow between the GPEB and BCLC was often inefficient.
Thursday saw him confirm that around 2012, the anti-money laundering policies in place were still ineffective and in the process of development. Back then, British Columbia Lottery Corporation worked on its regulations battling the laundering of criminal proceeds. November 2 is expected to bring more hearings.