Appeal Granted, BC Gambling Regulator Off the Hook for Non-Compliance

BCLC won’t have to pay $695k fine for non-compliance in 2010.

BC Gambling Regulator Won't Pay 695k PenaltyGambling in British Columbia is strict business. It’s regulated and upheld by government bodies – namely, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). This entity is required to report to another, higher government body, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

Back in 2010, things weren’t running quite so smoothly as they are now. That year, when FINTRAC held its periodic compliance review of the Crown Corporation, it found a few problems. Namely, BCLC had failed to submit financial reports in a timely fashion, as mandated.

Big Trouble for BC Gambling Regulator

The reporting agency imposed a very hefty fine against the BCLC for lack of compliance. The BC gambling regulator was dealt an ‘Administrative Monetary Penalty‘ (AMP) of $695,750.

The Crown Corporation appealed the results of the compliance review, as well as the AMP. BCLC acknowledged that there were delays in reporting, but claimed that it was due to technical deficiencies, and by no fault of their own. Such technical deficiency were actually outlined in the compliance review, giving the BC gambling regulator a leg to stand on.

According to BCLC, the deficiencies in question, “were attributed to implementation issues that arose at the time from a new computer communications link between FINTRAC and BCLC.”

Essentially, they claim the reports were sent on time, but that the communications link failed to deliver them before the deadline. The Federal Court ordered BCLC to fix the problem immediately, and suspended the $695k AMP until further notice.

Now, seven years later, a final decision on the matter has been laid down by the courts. The BC gambling regulator’s appeal has been granted, and it will not have to pay the hefty fine originally imposed by FINTRAC.

Court Grants BCLC Appeal

The court order, issued on August 11, 2017 by Federal Court Judge Jocelyne Gagne, states:

The appeal is granted and the decision of the Director of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada to impose an Administrative Monetary Penalty against the appellant is varied and that the Administrative Monetary Penalty thereby imposed is hereby set aside.”

In a press release confirming the granted appeal of the compliance review and AMP, BCLC commented on its appreciation of the decision.

“BCLC’s appeal of the $695,750 AMP was allowed by the Federal Court of Canada under the terms of a consent order. The consent order sets aside the AMP,” said BCLC.

“The court order notes that BCLC quickly remedied the deficiencies and that subsequent compliance reviews demonstrated enhanced compliance,” the announcement continued. “At no time did any money laundering transactions occur.”

BCLC went on to laud its “strong professional relationship” with FINTRAC over the last seven years. The BC gambling regulator expressed the unwavering commitment of both organizations in the “prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing” through any of its land-based or online gaming operations.

“BCLC is pleased this matter has come to a mutually agreed upon conclusion.”

Finalizing its position on the matter, the BC gambling regulator closed the press release by confirming, “This is the only statement BCLC will be making regarding the matter.”

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