The Canadian gaming industry continues its battle with money laundering as organize crime suspects are now targeting Quebec casinos as a way to wash their crime-originated money. The latest statement coming from the gambling regulator of the province – Loto-Québec informed that currently, the Crown corporation feels helpless in the fight against organized crime as it cannot deny players access to the province’s casinos.
Quebec’s gaming industry is yet another province that has been involved in alleged money laundering activities after British Columbia has been a hotspot for major money washing undertaking for more than a decade. Last fall investigations took place in Quebec where alleged illicit activities have taken place in Casino de Montréal.
The most current statement from the CEO of Loto-Québec, Lynne Roiter, suggested that the corporation is extremely concerned with the growing issue. Speaking on behalf of the gaming regulator Ms. Roiter stated that the Crown agency is more than aware of the issue. As things stand the corporation has no power to take action against money laundering since it cannot refuse potential suspects access to the gambling hall in the province.
Currently, the province has some implemented access limit protocols to its gaming properties to certain players. In this category are gamblers who have willingly registered in the self-exclusion program or simply individuals who have failed to comply with the casinos’ regulations and are currently banned from visiting the respective premises.
According to Ms. Roiter, the Crown agency is more than happy to collaborate with the police department in their ongoing investigations of the alleged money laundering activities by providing information on gamblers. She added that the battle with the issue is a particularly tough one as technologies and schemes continue to advance.
New measures that will be introduced by the Crown corporation will see any transactions over CA$10,000 to be declared in a 24-hour period. Previously, such reports were conducted by the establishments individually but now the Crown has the needed resources to constantly monitor all of its gambling properties 24/7. This will help greatly in identifying any suspects of organized crime who are trying to launder money in the province.
In Search of New Boss
At the start of 2021, the Crown officially informed that its CEO Ms. Roiter will be stepping down from the position in May. Despite the current financial difficulties caused by the unprecedented situation, the Quebec gambling operator will have to pay the future former CEO a total of CA$430,000 in severance payments. In the spring the first woman CEO of the corporation will be ending the almost five-year term of her ruling.
Game Exploit Lawsuit
Previously the Crown corporation for the Quebec province was involved in a game mechanic failure that led to a lawsuit. Legal action was taken by Elisabetta Bertucci after a game-breaking glitch occurred that allowed iPad players to take unfair advantage while playing Texas Hold’em. The unfair bug led to many players losing money as Ms. Bertucci claimed to have lost a substantial amount herself.
Source: Gagnon, Jean-Michel, “Loto-Québec says it is powerless in the face of organized crime”, Le Journal de Québec, April 7, 2021