Publish: 11.12.2017

British Columbia Doubles Down On Anti-Money Laundering

The new rules were long overdue, coming on the heels of several embarrassing episodes for the BC authorities.

British Columbia, which recently enacted sweeping new changes to its entire gambling regulatory scheme, will increase the focus on cracking down on money laundering, BC Attorney General David Eby has announced.

“The presence of the regulator will allow for increased vigilance required in casinos, in particular assisting with source of fund issues,” he said in a statement about the renewed focus.

Crackdown Comes Following Previously Lax Oversight

The new rules were long overdue, coming on the heels of several embarrassing episodes for the BC authorities. Recent years have seen many incidents of obvious funny business going completely unchecked. Notoriously, 2015 saw regulators admit that more than $10m had been laundered at Richmond’s River Rock Casino in $20 bills alone.

To help bring the situation under control (and restore its reputation) BC’s regulators will now be requiring any deposits of $10,000 or more to come with a “source of funds declaration.” The goal of this change is to leave a paper trail that will not only make it easier to keep track of large transactions moving in and out of casinos, but also to prove guilt when prosecutors bring a case.

BC Casino Revenues Projected Downwards

The dirty little secret of BC’s provincial government is that the province has profited handsomely by turning the other cheek to casino money laundering. However, when it became clear just how much Chinese mafia were abusing this laissez-faire stance, regulators had no choice but to act.

Still, there is little doubt that the crackdown will come with a financial cost to the province. In his announcement of the new rules, AG Eby admitted that the cost to implement the measures will not only come from increased operational costs, but also reduced revenue.

“I understand that if we take the steps we have to take on this issue, there will be an impact on gambling revenue,” he said.

It remains unclear if the BC legislature has any plans to make up this revenue by increasing taxes or fees on casino operators themselves.