2019.07.26

New Money Laundering Rules Make BC Casinos’ Table Revenues Slide

After the local government intensified its anti-money laundering (AML) policies, the domination of British Columbia’s gambling took a tumble with its latest annual report showing a slide in its casino table gaming revenue.

For the year ending 31 March 2019, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) on Friday, reported a total revenue to the tune of C$2.59b (US$1.98b), a 3.5% increase over the 2017-18 fiscal year’s result. There was an increase of 1% to the Crown Corporation’s net worth of C$1.41b.

Those in the know will observe that BCLC’s 2017-18 report stated an income of C$3.27b, but ever since the corporation incorporated certain changes in its accounting system, it was forced to re-state its 2017-18 figures. Due to its own accounting changes, Quebec had to revise its 2017-18 gambling stats

Profits from BCLC’s locally owned concrete casinos and managed by private companies, was basically flat at C$1.9b, due to the changed figures. Table games fell by 7.8% to C$454m, while slot machine profits improved by 2.6% to C$1.4b.

Following a series of derogatory reports regarding the negligence of Asian VIP gamblers who walked into local casinos, especially the River Rock Casino Resort in Vancouver carrying sacks of $20 bills of dubious origin, BC’s casinos were subjected to stricter AML and source of funds requirements.

Robert Kroeker, BCLC’s chief compliance officer unexpectedly resigned, without any justification for his hasty departure, earlier this month. There was a complaint against Kroeker by a whistleblower who contended that Kroeker “instructed [his staff] to take it easy on the BCLC’s cash conditions on players and delay the practice of aiming at dubious buy-ins.” as later reported by Global News.

Kroeker acted as compliance chief for Great Canadian Gaming Corp, manager of River Rock’s casino operations, prior to joining BCLC. The regional government, of which BCLC is a fraction, proclaimed its plans for a public investigation into the money laundering fiasco, after protests by the public escalated over the casino scandals.

PlayNow.com, BCLC’s online gambling operation reported an income of C$149.8m in 2018-19, almost C$30m over the 2017-18 restated earnings of the site at C$119.9m.

As per BCLC, PlayNow.com benefited from improved accessibility of slots titles on PlayNow’s mobile channels as well as “healthy player participation” at its Evolution Gaming fuelled live casino offering, which was launched late in the last financial year.

Canada’s largest ever slots jackpot was won by a land-based slots pro at the Treasure Cove Casino in Prince George on July 13. Marlyne Dumoulin who won the C$2.1m payday playing International Game Technology’s Powerbucks progressive jackpot says, she was so knocked out by her win that she has “bandages on my fingers from chomping off my fingernails.”