Authority to the Gambling Regulator

The B.C. government has empowered the gambling regulator to directly impose fines and offer licenses for strip operating regarding the casinos. This measure was taken to tackle organized crime’s money laundering.

David Eby, the Attorney General, stated the new casino servicing agreements were established to provide the BC Lottery Corp. the authority to ensure security, compliance and disciplinary measures.

Mr. Eby was appointed in July after the Liberals were tipped out of office by the minority NDP government. The province has developed a reputation internationally as being soft on crime.

The money laundering in the casinos has resulted in the district being branded as the Vancouver model.

Mr. Eby described shocking briefings when allegations of large-scale, serious international money laundering in the B.C. casinos were outlined to him by the Enforcement Branch of the Gaming Policy.

The Vancouver model involves underground Chinese banks in the center of the criminal Chinese activity, and money laundered into numerous locations including China from Vancouver.

Latin American and Chinese gangs are supplying illegal North American drug networks and facilitating the flight of capital from China. He said the challenge arose from no political will to significantly confront the issue.

Agreements with the BCLC are mandatory for the B.C. casinos to operate. The new agreements allow casinos to obtain their commission of five percent, based on the revenue once the prizes have been paid.

This is provided the system integrity of the casinos is met. If out of compliance, the BCLC regulators can suspend the payments of commissions or the license of the operator. Currently, this has not yet occurred.

Penalties under the existing system are rare because the police must be involved, and this requires time.

According to Mr. Eby, the crackdown should reduce the annual revenue of $1.3 billion collected from gambling.

Mr. Eby is planning on releasing the preliminary recommendations on Tuesday. The recommendations are from Correctional Service Canada and the RCMP’s former deputy commissioner Peter German.

In September, he was appointed as an independent expert and will be reviewing the gambling industry’s money laundering. The final report from Mr. German is expected next spring. His October appointment resulted from concerns there were money laundering activities in Richmond, B.C. at the River Rock Casino.

River Rock is run by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s head. A statement was issued declaring they are committed to a culture comprised of transparency and integrity and will work to make certain they are in compliance with the regulations.

The attention of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives has been drawn by the issue. This could result in repercussions from the Tuesday report of Mr. German.

The terms of a deal are being negotiated by Ontario. This involves two business partners and Great Canadian Gaming taking control of the Greater Toronto area casinos. This is a lucrative contract since the casinos in the region had revenue totaling $1 billion last year.

As the leader of the Progressive Conservative, Patrick Brown is calling for another look at the deal. The Liberals in the province are refusing to look further into the deal made with Great Canada Gaming.

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