British Columbia

New anti-money laundering policies coming to B.C. casinos 'as soon as possible' AG says

Two new policies for casinos were announced Tuesday by Attorney General David Eby: restrictions on cash deposits greater than $10,000 and a greater presence at casinos for government regulators.

Policies come after concerns raised that B.C. casinos are being used for money laundering

Interim recommendations come from Peter German, a former deputy commissioner of the RCMP and Correctional Service Canada. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Attorney General David Eby says interim recommendations to stop money laundering in B.C. casinos will be implemented "as soon as possible."

The recommendations call for several changes related to oversight and transparency when it comes to large cash transactions at casinos.

Most notably, casinos must provide a "source of funds declaration" when receiving more than $10,000 or more in cash deposits or bearer bonds.

The government says such declarations must include the customer's identification, the source of their funds and the financial institution and account where the money comes from.

After two large deposits, the casino can't take money from the customer without verifying it is not of a suspicious or illegal nature.

A second recommendation calls for government regulators to be present at high-volume casinos on the Lower Mainland and available 24/7.

"The presence of the regulator will allow for increased vigilance required in casinos, in particular assisting with source of funds issues, third party cash drops and general support for gaming service providers at BCLC," said Attorney General David Eby.

Eby said he believes the new regulators can be in place by the beginning of 2018.

Full report in March

The interim recommendations come from Peter German, a former deputy commissioner of the RCMP and Correctional Service Canada.

He was appointed in September to deliver a report to the government by March 31 but was given the authority to provide interim recommendations to tackle any suspicious activities.

"At this stage, Mr. German has identified there is an issue ... related to suspicious cash transactions that need to be remedied," said Eby.

"He hasn't provided me with any information about the scope of the problem that he has identified ... this set of recommendations I take as an interim set while he continues his work on this file."

Concerns were raised in a report commissioned by the former Liberal government that said the River Rock Casino in Richmond had accepted $13.5 million in $20 bills in one month, which police said could be proceeds of crime.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which runs River Rock, said they support in the interim recommendations.

"The declaration of source of funds for high value players is something virtually all our guests who play at these levels are familiar with completing, and we do not believe this will impact the guest experience," they said in a statement. 

The B.C. Lottery Corp. also issued a statement Tuesday welcoming German's ongoing review and accepting the two interim recommendations.

"BCLC is actively engaged in the prevention and detection of money laundering, and will do whatever we can to protect our business and our players," said media spokeswoman Lara Gerrits.

​Last month, Eby gave the lottery corporation more authority to monitor the gaming industry with new service agreements aimed at strengthening security and compliance.

With files from The Canadian Press