The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is the gaming regulator in British Columbia that has received a lot of flak in recent years for not doing enough to police the B.C gambling market. There have been multiple claims of rampant money laundering at B.C casinos and as a result a special commission was formed to look into these allegations.
The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C. has done a rather detailed investigation into these money laundering claims looking at multiple stakeholders that were involved in the process. The key stakeholders that have come under the scanner include the BCLC, B.C casinos, the authorities, government agencies, Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) and the police.
B.C. casinos have been at the center of a detailed money laundering probe as millions of dollars were reportedly washed through multiple casinos by criminal syndicates. A huge portion of the money laundering was allegedly carried out by Chinese gamblers who had ties to drugs like fentanyl being smuggled out of China and also to the Mexican cartel that was smuggling cocaine.
Multiple times gamblers would walk into different B.C. casinos with bags of $20 bills and gamble away over $100,000 in one night. When such high value transactions are carried out, casino operators are supposed to check the source of funds. However, casino operators and the BCLC were okay to turn a blind eye more often than not to these high stakes gamblers
They did not question the source of funds no subject them to anti-money laundering regulations that allowed them to wash millions of dollars regularly at the casinos.
BCLC Explains Its Slackness
The Commission questioned BCLC CEO Jim Lightbody and three ex-heads of security and compliance over money laundering allegations between 2010 and 2017. The peak of this money laundering scandal took place in 2015 when it came to light that a bank named Silver International was handling over $200 million each year, most of which is alleged to have come from crime proceeds.
BCLC CEO Lightbody who has been at the helm for a long time is currently on medical leavel. He told the commission that when Chinese players walked up with huge bags of money, it did not come across as suspicious as he thought it was part of their culture to do so.
We will have to wait for the full investigation to be complete before we get to the bottom of what took place at B.C casinos.