In British Columbia, a probe into allegations of third-party cash buy-ins at the River Rock Casino has resulted in the revocation of the registration of the casino’s director of VIP gambler relations.
The Vancouver Sun reports that Post Media News, owner of the daily newspaper, has learned that the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), which regulates all gambling in British Columbia, deregistered Lisa Gow, who according to her LinkedIn profile, has worked with VIP gamblers at the Richmond casino since 2012.
Gow’s registration was revoked after an investigation that began in early November into allegations of “third-party cash buy-ins” that reportedly violated anti-money-laundering regulations.
Gao’s case was reportedly confirmed with the B.C. government by Postmedia, that solicited comment on the allegations from the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). According to the news agency, the BCLC deferred questions to the Ministry of Attorney-General. The latter, confirmed the onset of the investigation “after it was alleged the employee acted in direct violation of B.C. Lottery Corp. and Fintrac directives about third-party cash buy-ins.” In late November, Gao’s registration was reviewed by the GPEB and “rendered a decision,” according to the news agency.
The Vancouver Sun reports that according to the ministry, the decision to revoke is considered preliminary and could be varied. A request to review the decision has been received by the GPEB and the final review is reportedly underway.
The investigation comes in the midst of a probe by independent reviewer, Peter German, whose services were reportedly retained by Attorney-General David Eby regarding the circumstances that permitted VIP gamblers from China to inundate B.C. casinos with suspicious cash. German was reportedly hired by Eby following the September 2017 release of an audit by leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm, MNP.
The firm’s audit reportedly revealed that in July 2015, approximately $13.5 million in twenty-dollar bills was accepted in River Rock Casino. Much of the cash, police fear, was proceeds from drug-trafficking crime, according to the news agency.
Per MNP’s audit, cash in large volumes was being dropped off, usually at night, at the casino, and “the majority of this cash is being presented by high-roller Asian VIP clients.”
The Vancouver Sun furthermore reports that investigations showed that some VIPs had been permitted to purchase gambling chips at the Great Canadian Gaming-operated casino with upwards of $500,000 in small bills in a single transaction and that the cash was accepted by casino staff even though there was reportedly “no known source of funds.”
The audit by MNP reportedly suggested that River Rock’s VIP staff’s primary function is to maximize revenue and “accountability gaps may have contributed to an organizational desensitization to cash, through continued exposure to high-volume bulk cash, especially in the VIP areas.”
The Unite Here union, which represents a large number of casino workers, recently asked to see five years’ worth of communication between Great Canadian Gaming and the BCLC amid concerns that high rollers may have been using some B.C. casinos for the purpose of laundering millions of dollars of illicit cash.