BC gaming enforcers blame “administrative error” for gaming violations spike

bc-casino-violation-numbers-administrative-errorBritish Columbia’s gaming enforcers say they goofed by publishing data that showed a 735% rise in the number of Gaming Control Act (GCA) violations in the most recent fiscal year.

Last week, a Business in Vancouver article noted that BC’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) had released a report showing the number of GCA violations in the Canadian province rising from 385 in 2013-14 to a whopping 3,215 in 2014-15.

Shortly after CalvinAyre.com reported on this story, we were contacted by a GPEB rep who informed us that the data contained in the story was “inaccurate, by a large margin,” and requested that we take down the article in question “forthwith.” However, the rep declined to offer specifics on which aspects of the story were so inaccurate.

On Monday, Business in Vancouver published a followup that finally shed more light on the discrepancy. According to Brennan Clarke at the Ministry of Finance, an “administrative error” led the GPEB to mistakenly include 2,910 incident reports of voluntary self-exclusions by gamblers from BC-licensed gaming venues in the 2014-15 report. As a result, the actual number of GCA violations last year was 305, a 21% decline from the previous year’s report.

However, Clarke said the GPEB is still “not able to provide an exact breakdown” of the nature of the 305 violations, and Clarke also had no explanation for why the GCA violations table is the only chart in the annual report that doesn’t contain a direct year-on-year comparison.

And, as originally reported, the GPEB still declined to refer any of the 305 GCA violations to Crown prosecutors for further investigation, compared with 37 forwarded violations in 2013-14.

In April, BC’s ruling Liberal party announced the formation of a Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team to keep a tighter lid on gang activity and money laundering at the province’s licensed casino operations. The Liberals had been widely criticized for shutting down a similar task force in 2009, despite its comparatively tiny $1m annual budget, and evidence of a skyrocketing volume of suspicious transactions at BC casinos.