Parq Vancouver casino bleeding red ink under new AML rules

Vancouver’s newest and biggest casino is bleeding red ink in 2018 after the province imposed new anti-money laundering protocols.

Earlier this month, the Toronto-listed Dundee Corporation holding company, a “significant but non-controlling investor” in the Parq Vancouver casino’s majority owner Parq Eguity Limited Partnership (PELP), announced that the gaming venue had lost C$108.3m (US$81.7m) in the first nine months of 2018, with an operating loss of C$17.7m.

The red ink is a far cry from 2017’s result, which saw Parq report a net profit of C$28.3m, despite having been open to the public for only three months. Dundee CEO Jonathan Goodman expressed frustration with Parq’s “disappointing” performance, adding that the company was “actively seeking solutions” to the venue’s problems.

In August, Dundee announced that Parq had lost C$80.8m in the first half of 2018, and Goodman warned that the ramp up of Parq’s operations were proceeding “at a slower than anticipated pace,” in part due to the new anti-money laundering (AML) protocols imposed earlier this year by the provincial government.

The new rules followed a damning report detailing years of shoddy AML practices at BC casinos and the disinterest of the previous Liberal government in stopping the casino tax revenue gravy train. In October, Parq was named as one of three BC casinos that had been assigned a third-party auditor to ensure the venues were honoring their new compliance obligations.

Parq got a financial leg-up in October, when PELP announced that “an industry investor” had agreed to lend it C$20m that the casino would use to make debt payments and provide additional working capital for the venue. That followed an additional C$33.4m cash injection that one of Parq’s existing partners ponied up in March.

November saw Parq suffer a public relations black eye after Canadian hip hop star Drake publicly slammed the casino for “profiling” him when he stopped in to gamble after a local concert. While the casino later explained that Drake had simply been tripped up by the new ‘source of funds’ rules, it also publicly apologized to the musician, sparking confusion over what exactly it needed to apologize for.