Casino News

Casino Money Laundering Was Out of Control, Cullen Commission Hears

The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia heard more riveting details regarding in-person casino gambling in the province, making this Thursday an interesting and informative one. Daryl Tottenham, Manager of Anti-money Laundering Programs for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, said that police arrests ended up depriving casino venue of patrons and gaming revenue.

The Cullen Commission, as it is also commonly referred to, strives to reveal more information coming straight from the people that kept a close eye on the local gambling field. It holds hearings every working day over the past couple of weeks and the information that has surfaced shows the true colors of the provincial casino scene. Mr. Tottenham had two days to speak on the subject.

Anti-Money Laundering Programs

Battling money laundering has been among the main tasks the Crown corporation had to tackle over the years, as its casino locations used to attract substantial amounts of supposedly dirty cash. Mr. Tottenham used the opportunity to share his point of view during both Wednesday and Thursday’s hearings in front of the commission.

He said that the arrests back in 2017 had their impact on regular day-to-day gaming activity at the casino hotspots. Casino patrons began making their way at the casino locations in British Columbia less frequently, leaving the venues deserted and with a drop in gaming revenue as a result. Mr. Tottenham used to work in the policing field of British Columbia prior to his entrance into the British Columbia Lottery Corporation in 2011.

During the hearing this Wednesday, Mr. Tottenham pointed out that high rollers had bigger freedom to gamble and operate with six-figure cash sums on the premises of River Rock Casino in Richmond. This Thursday also saw a conversation with Fred Pinnock, former commander of British Columbia’s anti-illegal gaming unit, who revealed a private conversation dating back to 2009.

Fred Pinnock Reveals More

It alleged that Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for gambling back in 2009, demonstrated a rather revenue-oriented attitude towards gambling in British Columbia. Mr. Pinnock pointed out that the comment was made by then-solicitor general Kash Heed, reflecting his own opinion on the subject. Mr. Heed pointed out back then that the gaming revenue was more important for the minister than battling money laundering and criminal activities.

Mr. Pinnock also made it clear that back in the days, Mr. Heed was concerned that then-Minister Coleman had senior RCMP officers following his orders and this negatively impacted the gambling field in the region. Thursday’s hearing also witnessed Mr. Pinnock make it clear that his collaboration with the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch was just for show up until the point when he had to relocate his people to a different part of the building due to difficulties collaborating.

The overall air of frustration he demonstrated during the hearing was highlighted by his exit in December 2007. It could be recalled that the illegal gaming enforcement team saw the end of its operation in 2009 when it was ultimately disbanded. Previous reports have shown that this is when casino money laundering saw its renaissance.