Anti-Money Laundering more Efficient at BC Online Casinos

Surfaced report indicates BC online casinos are better regulated than the land-based variety.

BC Online Casinos More EfficientLast week, it was discovered that a report dating back to 2016 had been intentionally buried. That report indicated millions of dollars in possible money laundering had taken place through the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia.

The document, produced by a third party accounting firm, never made its way into the hands of Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC). BC gambling regulations require all casino transactions of $10,000 or more, and/or those deemed suspicious, to be reported to the province’s financial watchdog.

In this case, River Rock Casino accepted $13.5 million—all $20 bills—during the month of July 2015. When BC’s new Attorney General, David Eby, got hold of it, he immediately exposed the report.

Eby revealed that the document, scribed by accounting firm MNP, indicated “a series of serious recommendations for reform, which should have been made public at the time the report was complete”.

BCs former Liberal government chose not to do that, instead burying the report. Following Eby’s probe into the matter, he said it caused him “to believe our province could do more to combat money laundering at B.C. Casinos”.

FINTRAC Now Investigating the Matter

FINTRAC said this week that it “is reviewing the report, on which it was not consulted, to determine whether any action on its part is appropriate.” The financial watchdog is capable of imposing up to $2 million in fines, and up to 5 years in prison, against any entity that fails to report potential incidents of money laundering.

Clearly, the regulations on the books are not being followed. As for who’s to blame, that’s up to FINTRAC to decide. River Rock Casino did report the $13.5 million that came in. It was reviewed by the accounting firm, and retrieved by the BC government in 2016. FINTRAC was, incidentally, left out of the loop.

BC Online Casinos Much More Efficient

BC’s very own, provincially regulated internet gambling website, PlayNow.ca, limits the amount a player can deposit within a given week. Players are also limited in the amount they can have in their account at any given time. If an account exceeds this limit for more than 72 hours, the operator can instantly issue a withdrawal.

The actual amounts upheld by these limitations are not static, and can be altered on a situational basis. However, players are never permitted to deposit $10,000+; an amount that would trigger an instant investigation and subsequent report to FINTRAC.

Online casinos regulated by offshore jurisdictions maintain similar standards with the sole purpose of thwarting money laundering. In fact, players of reputable online casinos are restricted to withdrawal limitations that could scale anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000 per week.

The only exception to the rule applies to a player who triggers, perhaps, the Mega Moolah progressive jackpot for over $1 million. They would be permitted to claim the full amount without delay.

As such, today’s criminal money launderers do not target internet gambling websites. At least, not the reputable ones who are regulated in upright jurisdictions such as the UK, Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Malta. Many of these operators are included in the category of BC online casinos, so long as Canadian residents are accepted.

We are all well aware that land-based casinos love their VIPs, and are all to happy to welcome players with million dollar bankrolls. Some of them are affluent tycoons with too much time and money on their hands looking for a good time. Unfortunately some are criminals looking to launder dirty money.

If the BC government truly wants to prevent money laundering, perhaps they should take a page from their internet-based counterparts. Or, at the very least, restrict players from depositing $10,000+ in cash.

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