Article published on 11 January 2011

BC Government to Toughen Up Against Casino Money Laundering

$8 Million in unusual transactions reported by CBC News to British Colombia gaming authorities
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CBC News has disclosed that $8 million in unusual transactions were reported to British Colombia gaming authorities over a three month period last year.

The transactions involved Lower Mainland casinos over the months May to August, 2010.

As a result, the government issued a statement that it is prepared to tighten its regulations so that casinos are not exploited by criminal elements through money laundering.

Rich Coleman, the minister in charge of gaming in BC, said in the statement: "The issue of whether or not a cash transaction should be reported as large or suspicious does deserve greater attention."

"And we are prepared to do just that," he promised.

According to the RCMP, the casinos had been targeted for money laundering activity.

"We are also prepared to take steps to continue to enhance training so casino staff are better equipped to properly identify suspicious transactions and report them more quickly to police so that they can stop this type of criminal activity," said Cole.

Their modus operandi would vary. In certain circumstances, bags with $20 and $50 bills would be brought into a casino and exchanged for gambling chips. Later on, these chips would be exchanged again for cash.

Current legislation allows casino chips to be removed from the premises and used at a later date.

The government is concerned that gambling chips are actually becoming an acceptable form of currency for organized crime groups.

"The BC Lottery Corporation and our casino industry are fully committed to supporting anti money laundering initiatives and to complying with federal regulations," said Cole.

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