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Casino Security: Anti-Money Laundering, Oversight and Training

Gambling in British Columbia is highly regulated and the Province of British Columbia and BCLC have layers of security and oversight in place to keep casinos safe and enjoyable.

This is evident from the moment you walk into any of our facilities - from the security staff who welcome you, to the various levels of security and supervision on the gaming floor and at table games. There's even more going on behind the scenes.

Casinos in B.C. have sophisticated monitoring systems in place and extensive on-site security staff to help document and respond to a broad range of situations. This includes surveillance cameras, and 24-hour surveillance staff. BCLC also has a team of investigators and compliance staff dedicated to the oversight of the security and integrity of all gaming facilities across the province.

Here is what we have in place to do this:

  1. Anti-Money Laundering – Roles & Responsibilities
  2. BCLC’s AML program
  3. Preventing minors from entering casinos
  4. Reviews, reports, investigations
  5. Staff training

 

1. Anti-Money Laundering – Roles & Responsibilities

Organizations in industries that manage large volumes of money, such as banks, insurance companies and casinos, need to comply with federal anti-money laundering (AML) legislation, including reporting to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

BCLC is just one part of the anti-money laundering regime. Our role is to identify and report specified transactions and circumstances to FINTRAC. While BCLC has a role in the prevention of money laundering, BCLC relies on the police to help it protect casinos in BC by detecting, investigating and seeking charges against anyone involved in money laundering.  BCLC collaborates with police by reporting information where money laundering concerns arise and cooperating with police on money laundering investigations.

FINTRAC receives and analyzes transaction reports from BCLC, as well as all other reporting entities across Canada. Where FINTRAC sees indicators of money laundering it will make a disclosure to law enforcement. FINTRAC cannot share these disclosures with BCLC nor does it notify BCLC of the results of its analysis.

 

2.  BCLC’s AML Program

BCLC is responsible for managing the anti-money laundering program in B.C. for both traditional casinos and on-line gambling.

We have made substantial investments in technology, training, and resourcing in our anti-money laundering (AML) program, which is subject to extensive independent reviews and audits to confirm its effectiveness and ability to meet FINTRAC obligations.

In addition to AML-trained casino  staff, BCLC Investigators and Intelligence Analysts help to ensure standards, policies and procedures are followed to reduce the risk of casinos from being targeted including:

  • Conducting customer due diligence inquiries which include confirming the identity of customers engaged in large or frequent transactions through examination of valid, government photo identification documents;
  • Monitoring and reporting large cash transactions and payments out to customers (of $10,000 or more),  as well as suspicious transactions of any amount;
  • Clearly marking all cheques as a return of gaming funds or as a payout of a verified win to make clear where funds are actually from gambling wins;
  • Controlling  the exchange of small denomination bills for large denomination bills;
  • Monitoring and reporting suspicious instances of players passing chips to each other on the gambling floor;
  • Honouring casino chips only at the property from which the chips were bought;
  • Promoting the use of cash alternatives such as debit cards, convenience cheques and customer  accounts through which bank drafts and electronic funds transfers may be used;
  • Conducting inquiries into  player’s source of wealth and funds to measure risk;
  • Where appropriate,  limiting the types of transactions that will be permitted for higher risk patrons; and
  • Mandatory AML training for BCLC and casino staff that is updated on a regular basis.

BCLC’s Anti-Money Laundering department works with law enforcement and provides copies of suspicious transaction reports and intelligence that may help with investigations. Since 2014, BCLC has had an Information Sharing Agreement with law enforcement that provides BCLC the ability to identify and proactively ban suspected members of organized crime, or individuals believed to be a public safety risk, from gaming facilities in B.C. BCLC also bars people from all gaming facilities in B.C. if they are involved in serious incidents such as cheating or assault.

For more about our compliance regime, visit Compliance Commitment to British Columbians.

 

3. Preventing Minors from Entering Gambling Facilities

In B.C., anyone under the age of 19 is prohibited from entering a casino or gaming facility. We take this responsibility very seriously and have a number of measures in place to prevent and deter minors from entering gambling facilities:

  • Security staff stationed at each entrance to screen customers entering
  • Mandatory ID checks for anyone who appears under 25
  • ID scanners to aid age verification
  • Increased security staff during peak hours
  • Staff training
  • Onsite awareness program

 

4. Reviews, Reports and Oversight

We regularly conduct reviews, investigations and issue reports to verify that casino operations meet our high standards.

Our operations are also subject to reviews and audits by regulatory agencies such as FINTRAC and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. These activities are a regular part of business and are key to protecting players and identifying ways we can improve.

 

5. Staff Training

We deliver training programs related to security, anti-money laundering and responsible gambling, and follow-up to verify staff are performing to expectations. There are three main areas where BCLC mandates training:

Security

BCLC employs trained investigators to oversee security staff, many of whom are former police officers. All security staff who work in B.C. gambling facilities must receive specific training from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

Anti-Money Laundering

All casino gaming floor staff must complete anti-money laundering training before starting work at on the gambling floor and are required to participate in refresher courses every year. The training helps them understand our FINTRAC reporting obligations and spot and report the suspicious activity we report to FINTRAC, GPEB and the RCMP.

BCLC also has a dedicated Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Unit consisting of members who are Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and specialize in AML Investigations, Programs and Intelligence. The AML Unit works with police and regulatory agencies, and shares information regarding individuals it believes may be engaged in criminal activity as it pertains to any suspected criminal activity, including money laundering and terrorist financing  related offences.

Responsible Gambling

Appropriate Response Training (ART) is an educational program that prepares BCLC staff and service provider employees to assist players while taking a proactive stance on responsible gambling. ART is mandatory for all front-line workers, management and security personnel, and is refreshed throughout their employment.

The training helps workers:

  • Learn what responsible gambling means and gain insight into the signs and impacts of problem gambling.
  • Gain knowledge of the resources available to players, families and employees regarding responsible play and Voluntary Self-Exclusion information.
  • Gain practical experience in effectively communicating with players; from dispelling myths and gambling responsibly, to player resource information and problem gambling referrals.