The Canadian province’s authorities are determined to bust money laundering operations at casinos once and for all.
Canada.- Finance Minister, Mike de Jong announced that the B.C. government is about to unveil a new strategy to tackle money laundering in casinos.
Seven years ago, the government shut down the province’s integrated illegal gaming enforcement team. According to Housing Minister Rich Coleman, who was then the minister responsible for the B.C. Lottery Corporation, the 12-member integrated gaming enforcement team “just, frankly, didn’t work.”
After receiving calls from the New Democratic Party (NDP) to restore that unit, de Jong disclosed in the B.C. legislature that he and Attorney General Suzanne Anton met with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) last fall with the purpose of developing a new “co-ordinated enforcement approach” to the issue.
De Jong did not share many details regarding the new co-ordinated strategy but he did say that it will involve the gaming policy and enforcement branch, the RCMP and the B.C. Lottery Corp. “We take very seriously the obligation that we have to British Columbians to ensure that the activities that take place within regulated and lawful gaming establishments are being conducted with proceeds that are not — I repeat: not — the result of criminal activity,” he declared.
Later on, de Jong’s office made public copies of the Minister’s letters to the RCMP and B.C. Lottery Corporation chairman Bud Smith last October. In the letter to Smith, de Jong acknowledged that problems persist despite progress made through the government’s anti-money-laundering strategy. “I am advised that large and suspicious cash transactions remain prevalent,” he wrote to Smith.“This situation must be addressed,” he added.
In their letter to the RCMP, de Jong and Anton stated that the co-ordinated approach to money laundering would enforce federal and provincial laws “within the legal and illegal gaming sectors.” The letter also said: “This approach would provide strategic enforcement that is targeted, proactive and designed for maximum deterrence of suspicious activities to ensure the gaming industry is conducted with integrity and free from criminal activity.”