BC Casino Revenue Decline Expected From Crackdown

The reputation and good name of British Columbia are more important than the short-term loss that may result from clamping down on large money transactions, says Attorney General David Eby (l.). Nevertheless, a study suggests the province could lose up to $47.2 million by adopting its tough new law.

BC Casino Revenue Decline Expected From Crackdown

In order to root out illegal cash transaction and money laundering the province of British Columbia may have to pay the price in loss revenue from gaming. That’s according to an independent report commissioned by the government.

The report, conducted by HLT Advisory Inc. concluded that if the province bans cash transactions larger than $10,000 that revenue may fall from $35 million to $88 million. When translated into taxes casinos pay, the B.C. government could lose between $18.6 million and $47.2 million through the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC.) The government is paid 60 percent of table winnings.

The report was commissioned by Attorney General David Eby so that the government would be able to account for the lost revenue in the budget in advance.

Eby explained the government’s reasoning. He told CBC News, Eby said. “We want to ensure criminals and criminal activity and money laundering is not taking place is our casinos, and we understand there might be a cost to that.” He added, “It’s meant to be an estimate, and so we priced that into the budget for 2018, so that we wouldn’t have any temptation not to take that action because it might cost money.”

Meanwhile the BCLC, which operates 15 casinos in British Columbia has already begun requiring casino customers to fill out paperwork for any deposits over $10,000. This will take place at casinos where it has not been unheard of for casino whales to buy-in for more than $500,000.

Eby plans to review new regulations on casinos meant to end money laundering.

The government of Premier John Horgan began investigating casinos last year shortly after taking power. It uncovered a report by the previous administration that had been suppressed that disclosed that suspiciously large amounts of cash were passing through the River Rock Casino Resort near Vancouver.

It noted that one Asian VIP deposited $500,000 in cash at a time and over one month the casino accepted $13.5 million in $20 bills—all without disclosing the source of the funds.

Meanwhile former deputy police commissioner Peter German is expected to deliver an independent investigation on money laundering at the end of the month.