British Columbia·CBC Investigates

Vancouver casino dealers fired for cheating, collusion

Records obtained by CBC reveal three dealers at Vancouver's recently opened Parq Casino were fired last year for "collusion" with players — giving them thousands of dollars worth of chips.

Parq Casino says it 'takes compliance seriously'

Cheating at play: Three dealers at Vancouver's recently opened Parq Casino were fired for sneaking $120,000 in chips to players. (Shutterstock)

Three card dealers working at Vancouver's recently opened Parq Casino were fired last year for cheating and "collusion" with players, records obtained by CBC reveal.

In all three cases, the dealers were "charged by police," say the documents. However, CBC News has not been able to confirm this. In B.C., only Crown prosecutors can approve charges.

$120K in chips 

The records, obtained through a request to the Ministry of Attorney General  under B.C.'s freedom of information law, state the players were paid amounts of $37,000, $40,000 and $43,000 in casino chips by the dealers —  amounts the players were "not entitled" to receive.

The entries were described as "cheat at play," but no other details were provided.

Angela Swan, Parq Casino's vice president of regulatory affairs and compliance, had little to say, writing in an email the company does not comment on employee matters, but it "takes compliance seriously."

Vancouver's Parq Casino on Smithe Street opened September 2017 (CBC)

Ed Rampone, a former director of casino investigations with the province's Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, says it is likely there was an ongoing conspiracy between the dealers and the players, in which the dealers would sneak chips to the players over a period of time.

Rampone, who previously specialized in casino criminal investigations, but isn't familiar with the details of these cases, says in a game such as blackjack, the dealer could "add and include extra chips as he's sliding them across the table."

The player would, at some point, pay off the dealer for his or her trouble — perhaps at a parking lot or at an off-site location.

"For every hundred or thousand dollars that I slip to you [in chips], you pay me back half or a third, depending on what the risk is," said Rampone, describing a potential scenario.

Making a deal: dealers at Vancouver's Parq Casino slipped poker chips to players.

Money laundering at River Rock

There was also one case of money laundering involving a casino employee noted at Richmond's River Rock Casino in 2017. The "employee facilitated a third-party, large cash transaction with [a] banned patron," the record states. No other details are given and there is no notation that charges were laid.

Between January 2016 and October 2018, 88 casino workers were cited for improper conduct.  Seventy-nine were fired.

There are 8,602 registered casino employees in the province.

A person reached for chips during a poker game.
Almost 3,500 casino licences were issued to Alberta charities and non-profits in 2018, according to Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis. (Toru Hanai/Reuters)

In another instance — also at the Parq — a worker from  Coquitlam's Hard Rock Casino was observed using fake chips to obtain funds. The Hard Rock subsequently fired the employee.

Other 'collusion'

Collusion cases were also documented at two other casinos.

One took place in 2017 at Cascades Casino in Langley, where a "patron gained $7,000 in unentitled chips." The other was listed as a theft at the Hard Rock Casino, where "an employee colluded with [a] patron — [an] estimated theft in excess of $5,000."

No more details were given, but the RCMP laid a theft charge, says the entry.

Theft of chocolate bars

Much of the conduct that led to the firings were thefts, assaults and threats.  Some instances were minor. 

At Chances Casino in Kelowna, an employee was fired for stealing cigarettes and a lighter from another employee. 

In Penticton, a worker was de-registered as a gaming employee — but not fired —  due to the theft of two chocolate bars from the Lake City Casino concession.

with files from Jason Proctor