According to The Globe and Mail, The B.C government is giving the province’s gambling regulator the power to directly impose fines and even strip operating licences from Casinos for the first time.
This is part of the government trying to crack down on money laundering from organized crime.
Attorney-General David Eby told The Globe and Mail that the government had given BC Lottery Corp (BCLC) more authority so they could ensure security and compliance.
Eby said the previous government (Liberals) were soft on this kind of crime and that money laundering had become rampant in B.C casinos. Money laundering in B.C casinos became known as the “Vancouver Model”.
Large-scale, even international laundering was happening in BC casinos. China was involved, with Chinese underground banks being the major issue. Money was going from Vancouver to China and other locations. These networks were supplied by Chinese and Latin-American gangs.
“The challenge to date has been a lack of political will to deal with this issue in any kind of significant way,” Mr. Eby said.
Casinos in B.C. must have agreements with BCLC to operate. Under the new agreements with gambling operators, casinos will obtain their 5-per-cent commission, based on revenue after prizes are paid out, so long as their commitments to maintain the integrity of their systems is met.
If BCLC does find casinos “substantially out of compliance”, regulators can suspend concession payments or the operator’s license.
Eby did say that that is kind of action could reduce the 1.3-billion in revenue that the province collects from gambling.
The Attorney General also said,
“But it’s a mistake to think that money that could be coming from, for example, the sale of addictive illicit drugs and laundering through the casinos doesn’t have some cost somewhere else in our system. You may be making money on the gambling side but you are losing on the health side.”
No casinos in B.C have had their agreements suspended yet.