B.C. Casinos Rolling in ‘Suspicious’ Cash

An investigation of two casinos in British Columbia, the River Rock (l.) and the Starlight, found evidence of possible money laundering and flawed security protocols. According to CBC News, some $27 million in suspicious, small-bill cash transactions took place at the casinos over three months.

Hundreds of reports unheeded??

An investigation of two Canadian casinos by CBC News has uncovered what the news organization called “suspicious cash” alleged to be “gang money” circulating through the gaming halls.??During the three-month probe, almost $27 million in dubious transactions were documented at two British Columbia casinos, the River Rock in Richmond and the Starlight in New Westminster. Ed Rampone, former head of casino investigations with the provincial Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, called it money laundering. “It’s eye-opening and shocking to see the volume that it’s reached,” he said.??

Hundreds of reports noted the flow of suspicious cash, mostly in small denominations, CBC reported, but law enforcement was never summoned. “The failure to do anything about it and just continue to rubber stamp this and pass it on as intelligence—its bordering on negligence,” Rampone said. “They ought to be turning the money away and not dealing it away the same way that the banks turn it away at the cash wickets. Ask some questions of these individuals and if need be, intercept that currency.”

??In some cases, casino customers arrived with shopping bags and suitcases full of twenty- and fifty-dollar bills. One person brought in $800,000 in twenties. Another carried $1.1 million in cash.??

The latest investigation comes three years after a similar scandal, after which safeguards were supposedly tightened. The government’s 2011 Anti-Money Laundering Act focused on reducing the use of cash. Casinos are now required to report cash transactions of $10,000 or more to the BC Lottery Corp. which must then report the activity to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).