Casinos are doing their part to combat money laundering

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BY BILL RUTSEY, SPECIAL TO THE SUN

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Provincial casinos have allegedly been implicated in some suspicious, money-laundering related, transactions lately.
Photograph by:
Peter Battistoni, Vancouver Sun, Special to the Sun

Casinos, like all other businesses that attract large amounts of money such as banks, credit unions, real estate brokers, securities dealers and brokers, currency exchanges and the like, are committed to working together with law enforcement agencies to combat money laundering.

This includes rigorous systems of internal controls, employee training and communications to ensure that all transactions required by regulation are reported to FINTRAC (the federal agency charged with combating money laundering) and moreover that any suspicious transactions of whatever size or activities of whatever nature are also documented and reported.

The recent media reporting of suspicious transactions occurring is proof of such and that casinos are doing their part by documenting and turning the information over to FINTRAC and then law enforcement for investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution.

In fact, casinos are uniquely set up to do so in a very effective fashion given their extensive and sophisticated security and surveillance systems. It's often said by those in law enforcement that only stupid criminals would attempt to launder money in a casino, where their every movement is recordedon camera.

Casinos are highly regulated environments with prescriptive rules on everything from how games are played to how cash and chips are handled. Provincial gaming regulators provide oversight of the casino operations to ensure people can play in safe and secure environments.
Would you be interested in laundering the proceeds of crime by walking into a facility that has several hundred cameras with trained security and surveillance professionals watching your every movement? Probably not -but people do try, and their actions don't go unnoticed.

Just as with the provincial gaming regulators, Canada's gaming industry works with FINTRAC to ensure suspicious transactions and large cash transactions are reported to them for analysis.

All transactions over $10,000 including jackpot prize payouts made by the casino are reported. In addition, suspicious transactions of $3,000 or more and multiple transactions made in a 24-hour period that would add up to more than $10,000 are all reported.

Canadian casinos made over 150,000 reports to FINTRAC last year, including the transactions sensationalized in the media.

FINTRAC would have likely analyzed them and passed them on to the RCMP and/or local law enforcement for investigation.

The better questions for the media to ask would be of law enforcement.

Are there, or have there been investigations of the reports made by the casinos, was it money laundering or not?

Right now all we have are allegations and speculation.

Bill Rutsey is CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.

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