Casino News

Cullen Commission Hears about Tension between GPEB, Casino Management

The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia dedicated this last Friday to more hearings related to the casino field of the province and the Richmond region in particular. Tom Robertson, a former investigator with the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, made it clear that his revelations were not met positively at Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.

The casino operator oversees River Rock Casino in Richmond, which has been a topic of wide discussion over the past couple of weeks of hearings. The Cullen Commission was told various stories linked to its daily operation back in the early 2000s revealing the way this venue navigated money laundering risks. Mr. Robertson was investigating one of the loan sharks frequenting the venue.


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.

October 26 saw the official start of this phase of daily hearings, inviting insiders to tell their story and unveil facts regarding the local gambling field over the past two decades. Mr. Robertson had the chance to speak on November 6 and showcase his personal experience with the criminal activity and the continuous probes into it. Back in 2005, he was looking into the daily operation of an alleged loan shark supporting high rollers at the popular casino location.

Following the extensive investigation, he notified one of his supervisors about the findings he has in relation to the supposed illegal loan shark operation on the premises of River Rock Casino. In his email back then, Mr. Robertson pointed out his concerns that the investigation he did might have rubbed some casino operator officials the wrong way.

Casino Loan Sharks Investigation

They made it clear back then that this kind of probe into the potentially illegal activities of the individual was not among the mandate of the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. No charges were laid at the time. Kyle McCleery, a B.C. government lawyer asked the former RCMP officer some additional questions this Friday, aiming to clarify the situation at the time.

Mr. Robertson also pointed out that his work in the legal casino location was considered redundant, as he was supposed to focus on any illegal gambling dens operating. Friday also heard from Fred Pinnock, who oversaw the non-existing illegal gaming enforcement team in British Columbia. He revealed that there was palpable tension between his people and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch at the time.

His close observation on the local gambling field convinced him that more RCMP officers had to be present in casino venues and racetracks. Mr. Pinnock’s suggestion was not welcomed. Later on this month, the Cullen Commission is supposed to issue its position, for the time being, following all hearings.