In western Canada, the operator behind River Rock Casino Resort was reportedly warned early last year that some of the venue’s employees may have violated federal financial reporting rules by allegedly carrying out a practice that saw them routinely shred paper records associated with large cash transactions.
Notification came during official meeting:
According to a Wednesday report from Global Television Network, following the successful filing of a freedom of information request, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation was made aware of the shredding allegations via a meeting with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation held on April 21, 2017.
The television broadcaster reported that the regulator had requested the meeting with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation executives to discuss ‘large cash transaction compliance’ following the emergence of allegations that some wealthy gamblers may have been using the British Columbia casino to launder millions of dollars in illicit money.
Records of large cash transactions:
Global Television Network reported that Robert Kroeker, Corporate Security Vice-President for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, had used the encounter to inform the operator that he had uncovered a practice that saw casino employees at the Vancouver-area venue shred records associated with large transactions at set times of the day.
Under the directives of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, casinos in the country are reportedly required to report all combined transactions from any one gambler if these total over C$10,000 ($7,694) during a 24-hour period. This information allows the federal anti-money laundering agency to spot suspicious currency transactions and take corrective actions if its rules are being broken.
Practice violated threshold reporting rules:
However, Global Television Network reported that Kroeker is alleged to have informed Great Canadian Gaming Corporation that the supposed practice of shredding records broke the guidelines of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada even though these accounts had been for amounts below the C$10,000 threshold.
As an example, the broadcaster reported that a VIP player could have deposited C$9,000 ($6,926) with the casino at 4am before returning an hour later after their transaction records had been shredded in order to part with an identical amount of cash. As a consequence, the customer could feasibly have accumulated chips worth some C$18,000 ($13,853) without their being any paper record of the transaction.
High-value players may have escaped scrutiny:
The network also stated that Kroeker had used the meeting to inform Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which operates ten facilities throughout British Columbia including the River Rock Casino Resort, that the alleged shredding of records had opened up the possibility that high-rollers may have been avoiding scrutiny from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
Regulator takes its duties ‘very seriously’:
In an e-mail sent to Great Canadian Gaming Corporation before the meeting, Kroeker asserted that his office ‘takes its compliance responsibilities very seriously’ especially when it comes to ‘those obligations around anti-money laundering, terrorist financing and personal privacy.’
Kroeker’s e-mail reportedly read…
“I wish to make sure there is no misunderstanding as to the nature and importance of the discussion scheduled for next week.”
But, Global Television Network reported that a two-page summary attached to the e-mail that is alleged to have detailed the specific allegations due to be discussed during the meeting had subsequently been heavily redacted in order to protect an ongoing investigation being conducted by local police.
Operator has taken ‘proactive steps’:
In response to the shredding allegations, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation sent the broadcaster a statement declaring that it ‘undertakes to be in compliance with all regulations’ and regularly ‘files large cash transaction reports for all transactions C$10,000 and over.’ It furthermore stated that it maintains electronic copies of all large cash transactions and highlighted an investigation from independent reviewer Peter German, which had supposedly determined that the casino operator had taken ‘proactive steps’ when it came to matters of compliance.
A statement from the Corporation read…
“Great Canadian [Gaming Corporation] and River Rock [Casino Resort] have not been the subject of any enforcement activity regarding our practices or track record for filing required reports.”