Cash may be king, but not at BC casinos. Not anymore.
In an effort to allay public fears and strengthen the image of the gaming industry in the Canadian province of British Columbia, the B.C. government has issued a news release saying it will try to transition the province’s casinos away from cash transactions in an effort to crack down on money laundering.
According to the news release, the government will try to discourage gamblers from using cash in favour of electronic funds, like credit and debit cards, to reduce the risk of organized crime laundering funds.
“A key objective is to transition toward greater use of electronic funds by making non-cash options more accessible and attractive to customers, while not discouraging legitimate play,” the government said in the release.
This latest move by the BC government is a direct response to complaints that the BC casinos were becoming a haven for money laundering.
A January report by The Vancouver Sun cited Barry Baxter, head of the B.C. RCMP’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime section, saying that B.C. casinos were routinely failing to flag large cash transactions as suspicious, making the fight against money laundering more difficult.
Obviously, casinos would be hard pressed to report all large transactions when under the letter of Canadian law, any cash transaction larger than $10K is supposed to be reported to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (Fintrac). For some high rollers, that may just be one hand.
Last year, BCLC received a notice from Fintrac that it was being fined $695,750 for errors it made in more than 1,000 transaction reports.
The BCLC is currently appealing the penalty of $695,750 from Fintrac.
Looks like the gamblers strolling into BC casinos with hundreds of thousands of dollars in crumpled up twenties might have some issues moving forward.