Loto-Québec has finally found an answer to the province’s alleged criminal undertakings in local casino properties. Last week the government released a report compiled by an external auditing company that will aim to provide the authorities with some guidelines and strategies on how to deal with such possible future criminal activities at the gaming venues.
Last year in November Finance Minister Eric Girard revealed that a third-party company would conduct an independent audit to investigate past criminal activities in Casino de Montréal. The inspection was announced shortly after several media reports that organized crime members have received special treatment in the said casino.
The official audit by the independent firm was officially concluded last week, and the provincial government of Quebec stated that it will be resorting to some of the recommendations. Last week, the finance minister stated that the current measures implemented measures by Loto-Québec are solid and the mentioned criminal activities by the media reflect on events from the past and are not at all current ongoings.
The local government stated that it will be adopting the policy or process to ban players with a high-risk profile. As the Crown agency will be able to cancel their memberships in the casino’s loyalty program and take away their accumulated points. Additionally, the Crown corporation will receive more authority to conduct more thorough and detailed background checks on certain patrons and their financial sources.
The province has also agreed to improve its information-sharing between the Crown agency and the police department. This includes exchanging intel on money laundering schemes, as well as typologies, techniques, modes of operation, and organized crime groups. The Crown has even already introduced several of the recommendations from the audit, such as the automation of systems to target suspicious activities.
In conclusion, the Crown agency stated that it is always in search of the best possible protocols in the fight against money laundering as the organized crime evolves with time and the new technology. According to the report, dealers did not feel obligated to allow a suspicious individual to win due to their links to organized crime groups.
Drop in Revenue
Loto-Québec has had a difficult year as the Crown corporation was severely affected by the unprecedented situation. Its casino properties in the province were ceased from operations for a long time causing a big dip in its revenue numbers. For the last FY of 2020-21, the corporation managed to accumulate CA$457.6 million in revenue which is only a third of its previous fiscal year total revenue.
However, there is finally good news on the horizon for the Crown agency and gambling fanatics in Quebec. A week ago, the province announced that it will be relaunching businesses, and casinos are included in the reopening plan. Salon de jeux de Trois-Rivières restarted operations on June 14, 2021, with Casino de Charlevoix, Casino de Mont-Tremblant, and Salon de jeux de Québec scheduled for a June 21 start.
Source: “Criminals to be banned from casinos, says Quebec”, CTV News, June 18, 2021