Gambling enforcement and investigations
Gambling enforcement activities are essential to maintaining the integrity of gambling in B.C. This includes identification, investigation, and enforcement activities related to money laundering and other wrongdoing that can occur in the gambling industry.
Government works with law enforcement to identify, investigate, and deter gambling wrongdoing in B.C.
Deterring money laundering, theft, and fraud; preventing minors from gambling; and applying sanctions and penalties to gambling industry registrants are a few main areas of focus for B.C. gambling enforcement. Enforcement activities are carried out under the authority of the provincial Gaming Control Act and Gaming Control Regulation and Canada's Criminal Code (see Part VII).
What is Money Laundering
Money laundering is a process that is used to hide the source of money or assets obtained through criminal activity (e.g., drug trafficking, smuggling, fraud) to make the money appear legitimate. There are many ways to launder money; some of them are very complicated and methods are constantly changing to avoid detection.
Money laundering compromises the integrity of legitimate businesses and financial systems, which are often unaware they are being used to launder money.
Money Laundering in B.C. Casinos
In response to concerns that B.C. casinos were being used to launder the proceeds of crime, in September 2017 the B.C. government appointed Dr. Peter German to conduct an independent review of B.C.’s anti-money laundering policies and practices in the gambling industry, with a focus on the Lower Mainland casinos. Dr. German included 48 recommendations in his final report, Dirty Money: An Independent Review of Money Laundering in Lower Mainland Casinos, and government accepted all recommendations in principle.
Government Actions to Address Money Laundering in B.C. Gambling Facilities
Government is working closely with law enforcement, the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and gaming services providers to strengthen anti-money laundering practices in B.C.’s gambling industry, including:
- Requiring a source of funds declaration for buy-ins of $10,000 or more within a 24-hour period
- Increasing the presence of government regulators at Lower Mainland casinos during peak hours
- Improving cross-organizational collaboration between GPEB, casinos, BCLC and police of jurisdiction
- Announcing the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) will become the Independent Gambling Control Office (IGCO)
- Modernizing the provincial Gaming Control Act with the goal of introducing changes to legislation in fall 2022
Government is committed to disrupting illicit behaviour within B.C. and keeping dirty money out of gambling facilities. Government is continuing its work to identify money laundering activities in casinos, and establish policies and practices that deter the proceeds of crime from being used to gamble in B.C.
Money Laundering in Other Sectors
In an effort to get a better understanding of the breadth and depth of money laundering in the province, the provincial government has commissioned three independent reports since September 2017.
Dirty Money Part 1 (2018) looked at money laundering in B.C.’s Lower Mainland casinos and Dirty Money Part 2 (2019) reviewed money laundering within the real estate, horse racing and luxury vehicle sectors. The third report, Combatting Money Laundering in B.C. Real Estate, looked at gaps in compliance and enforcement of existing laws, consumer protection, financial services regulations, regulation of real estate professionals and jurisdictional gaps between B.C. and the federal government.
Government has also established a public inquiry to look at the full scope of money laundering in the province, including real estate, gambling, financial institutions and the corporate and professional sectors. The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia (the Cullen Commission), is underway and government expects an interim report in November 2020 and a final report by May 2022.
Building on the work done to date, the Anti-Money Laundering Secretariat (AMLS), along with a multi-ministry working group, and private and public sector partners, has developed a provincial anti-money laundering strategy. This strategy provides a framework to guide and support anti-money laundering efforts of government, regulators and non-regulators in all sectors. It will incorporate and build upon the findings of the Cullen Commission.
The B.C. government is striving to be the toughest jurisdiction in which to launder money. Working in partnership with our partners in the federal government, law enforcement, regulators and non-regulators, the goal is to reduce money laundering in B.C. to the greatest extent possible for the safety and security of British Columbians and the protection and integrity of our economy.
Information about reporting wrongdoing is available at Reporting Gambling Wrongdoing. This includes reporting information for members of the public as well as more formal reporting procedures for gambling event licensees, gaming grant recipients, and gambling industry registrants (casinos, community gambling centres, etc.).