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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.

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

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 B.C. 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 online gambling.

We have made substantial investments in technology, training and resourcing in our anti-money laundering 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 reduce the risk of casinos from being targeted by:

  • 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;
  • Requiring  source of funds declarations for all cash and bank draft/certified cheque buy-ins of $10,000 or more, and requiring Service Providers to record detailed information about where the customer sourced his or her buy-in funds.
  • 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;
  • Enforcing chip rules that ensure that players acquire chips only through lawful means, and use them only for purposes intended at B.C. casinos;
  • 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
  • Requiring AML training for BCLC and casino staff.

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 with 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., law prohibits anyone under the age of 19 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. Staff Training

There are three main areas where BCLC mandates training:

Security

BCLC employs trained investigators to oversee security staff. All security staff members 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 that BCLC reports to FINTRAC, GPEB and the RCMP.

Responsible Gambling

Appropriate Response Training (ART) 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.