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Canada – Great Canadian Gaming investigated over money laundering claims

By - 25 September 2017

River Rock Casino Resort, located south of Vancouver is being investigated by British Colombia’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, after it accepted $11m in C$20 bills in just one month in July 2015.

Attorney General David Eby has released a 2016 MNP report on anti-money laundering practices in BC casinos and announced a review to determine if there are issues pertaining to money laundering in Lower Mainland casinos.

The report stated that there were ‘reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering activity through the use of unsourced funds has been confirmed. While the patron may be bona fide, the unsourced cash being accepted by the casino may be associated with criminal activity.’

It analysed cash transactions over two years from September 2013 and found that a high-limit room would accept single cash buy-ins of over C$500,000 without the source of funds being questioned.
It said the casino ‘fostered a culture accepting of large bulk cash transactions.’

River Rock highlighted 54,187 big cash deposits during the two years but only filed 1,194 suspicious transaction reports.

Great Canadian Gaming Corp., the owner of River Rock, said: “Great Canadian Gaming Corporation strictly adheres to all regulatory requirements and maintains the highest standards of reporting at our properties. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch (GPEB), and FINTRAC have highly detailed and rigorous regulatory obligations that all Great Canadian facilities in BC adhere to and at all times we govern ourselves to meet or exceed those obligations, rules, and standards. We welcome the Minister’s review of the industry and our operations, and along with direction from GPEB and BCLC, we will adopt any further revisions to the regulatory structure should they direct BC casino operators to do so.”

The British Columbia Lottery Commission is in charge of making sure casinos stick to AML procedures. Its President and CEO Jim Lightbody said: “We take our responsibility to manage gaming in our province very seriously and always welcome the opportunity to improve our practices. We have zero tolerance for criminals who may attempt to target our business. If there is something more we can do to improve the anti-money laundering efforts in BC, we’ll do it.”

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