VICTORIA ‘ The B.C. government needs to find out more about criminal
activity, especially money laundering, at the province’s casinos, says a
report released Wednesday that recommends the creation of a task force
to gather intelligence on the transactions.

The task force would be aimed at determining the types and scale of
criminal activity at B.C. casinos and is one of 10 recommendations in
the report on anti-money laundering measures at B.C. gaming facilities.

It’s author, Rob Kroeker, of the province’s Civil Forfeiture Office,
called for the creation of the multi-agency force to probe suspicious
activities and transactions at B.C. casinos.

Kroeker said his report did not probe to what extent, if any, money is
being laundered at B.C. casinos because his mandate didn’t require him
to.

He said his call for the creation of the task force would answer those
questions. Members of the task force would include police and
representatives of the agencies that regulate gaming in the province.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General ordered a review of anti-money
laundering strategies used at B.C. gaming facilities last January after
media reports raised questions about large cash transactions using small
denomination Canadian currency ‘ $20 bills ‘ at casinos.

Kroeker’s review found the B.C. Lottery Corp., and the province’s Gaming
Policy Enforcement Branch are providing appropriate strategies to
monitor money laundering, but a task force could provide more knowledge.

“At the end of its mandate, the task force would report to the province
on the types and the magnitude of any criminal activity it found
occurring in relation to gaming in B.C.,” he said at a news conference.

Kroeker’s report did not dispute that cash, and often large amounts of
it, are present at B.C. casinos, but he recommended the lottery
corporation and its enforcement branch embrace electronic banking to a
larger extent and offer cheques as opposed to cash for customers.

Opposition New Democrat critic Shane Simpson said the report did not go far enough.

It barely touched on money laundering and appears to still welcome large
cash transactions at casinos, the issue which prompted the original
concerns, he said.

“They’re going to encourage non-cash transactions, but there’s going to
be nothing that actually says to somebody, ‘You can’t bring a suitcase
full of $20s into the casino to cash it out,”’ Simpson said.

The report also recommended better staff training to ensure workers are
aware of what constitutes money laundering and it suggests more formal
involvement of police in auditing and investigating what goes on in
casinos.

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