Three BC Casinos in hot water over new money laundering allegations

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is under renewed scrutiny following allegations of enabling suspected Chinese money launderers. This came to light after the Vancouver Sun published a report based on the 2016 audit of the BC’s Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch (GPEB).

The audit revealed that River Rock, Starlight, and Edgewater casinos wittingly allowed gamblers, of which 47 were VIP’s, to buy chips using cash from private, BC-based lenders suspected of drug trafficking to the value of C$6.7m in 2015. Of that amount, River Rock handled the largest portion (79%).

The woes don’t end there for River Rock, as the audit further revealed that the casino ‘refined’ money from questionable sources by accepting $20 bills amounting to $13.5m in a single month during that summer, as well as allowing punters to pay in stacks of crisp $100 bills.

As stated in the audit, 14 gamblers under BCLC restrictions were able to wager with chips “either brought into the casino or received from players while inside the casino.” This puts the onus of these allegations squarely on the BCLC, leaving the regulator with the delicate task of maintaining legal gambling activities, at the risk of scaring big customers away.

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