BC’s Attorney General says money laundering in BC casinos is a serious crime, and has to stop.
David Eby made the comment at the release of Peter German’s 247 page report on the issue, titled ‘Dirty Money,’ and said the government has begun implementing the 48 recommendations.
Eby says it’s tied to the opioid crisis, and to housing prices that many people can’t afford.
He says the NDP government has already implemented one-fifth of the recommendations with more to come.
German, a former RCMP deputy commissioner, says organized crime groups, mostly from Asia, laundered money from illegal drugs in the casinos then invested the money in Vancouver-area real estate.
German says his suggestions will bring sweeping changes to the casino industry.
“Although my work centered on the Lower Mainland, the recommendations will inevitably impact the entire casino industry within BC.”
German says the epicentre of activity was the River Rock Casino in Richmond, but no large casino was untouched.
He estimates at least $100 million was laundered, since the activity started in 2011.
German is calling for the creation of a specialized gaming police force which would have a 24 hour, 7 days a week presence.
“It can deal with everything that occurs within the legal casino industry. It will be a source of support for municipal and RCMP police and will become specialized in gaming offences.”
German also wants to see the establishment of a regulator for the industry as an independent Crown corporation.
“We need a strong provincial regulator which is not currently the situation. The gaming police and enforcement branch is embedded within government, but also serves as a policy centre. Its authorities are limited by the governing legislation, particularly with respect to BCLC and in the field of anti money laundering.”
BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver says the report shows B.C.’s laws and regulations have not kept pace with changing realities, and demonstrates the need for wholesale policy change.
“Dr. German’s report demonstrates systemic failure within the previous government to adapt our laws and regulations to changing realities,” said Weaver.
Weaver says it’s encouraging to hear that recent government actions have led to a significant reduction in suspicious activity in B.C. casinos, and I am pleased that the Attorney General has accepted the recommendations.