Cash Rules To Be Tightened At BC Casinos

Published on: May 29, 2008 

In an effort to identify gamblers who are using slot machines to launder money, the Lottery Corporation of British Columbia, Canada, are starting a review of every check that has been issued by casinos in the country.  These checks are issued on a monthly basis to multiple winners and other gamblers and anything that has been cashed out over $10,000 is under scrutiny.  The casinos are required to report these cash outs in order to meet new legal requirements that will help control money laundering.

A recent investigation by CBC News uncovered the possible money laundering scheme when they had reporters actually go into the casinos and feed $20 bills equaling $9,000 into the slot machines.  With little to no playing of the machine, the reporters cashed out with a credit slip in which they presented to the casino registers in exchange for a check.  The casinos have acknowledged that this maneuver was a failure of their gaming policy and it has prompted deeper research into the possibility that people are laundering money.   

B.C. Public Safety Minister John van Dongen received a letter from the Lottery Corporation chairman John McLernon stating that many suspicious transactions were reported by casino staff but never sent on to the authorities for investigation.  It is believed that these reports go back as far as 2002.  The letter listed the three types of transactions that were to be reported by the casinos based on the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act of 1998 and that the casinos were instructed to stop reporting cash outs of $10,000 or more.  The monitoring of these large cash outs were to be turned over to the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch.

The federal government is planning on passing new amendments that will require these transactions to once again be reported.  Only $60,000 of suspicious transactions was reported between 2006 and 2007 in Ottawa.  During the same time frame, $15 million worth of suspicious transactions were reported in Ontario.  The fact that the casinos are going to have to go as far back as 2002 to confirm and clear the checks is not a good sign, leaving the gaming authorities in British Columbia with egg on their faces.  

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation is going to be reviewing all of the current procedures that are in place before the new amendments are passed in June.  Van Dongen has asked that all of the casinos begin to report their numbers from here on out and include all the numbers that were not reported over the last six years.

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