A Vancouver lawyer and anti-money laundering expert says new measures recommended to stop money laundering in B.C. casinos can hurt the industry.
Earlier this week the province received two recommendations from the ongoing independent review into money laundering in the province.
One of the recommendations was for gaming providers to identify where cash is from and if it’s illegal in nature for quantities of $10,000 or more. The second included government regulators on-site 24/7 at big casinos across the Lower Mainland.
But Christine Duhaime says that’s going to have a negative impact, especially for people who bring their money from overseas.
“The client is going to start to say ‘well I own a tech company’ let’s say in ‘Beijing.’ Okay, ‘what’s the name of that tech company? How many employees? Give us all documentation to prove that you do own a tech company and the $500,000 is actually your salary.’ You’re going to have to trace it back to some legitimate source. By the time you got all that and translated it, they’re out the door.”
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She said the government needs to find a balance between taking anti-laundering laws seriously and not killing the casino industry.
“In Vancouver, part of the large revenue source is of course people from overseas who come to gamble large amounts of money,” said Duhaime. “If suddenly you come to the high rollers and you start to want extra identity verification, ask extra questions about source of funds, there’s going to be a scare factor.”
They need to “massage” the recommendations before implementing them and hurting the industry, said Duhaime.
She said high-rollers are an important part of the casino ecosystem, especially in Vancouver, adding that there are better ways to vet potential clients.
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