The government of Quebec has upped its fight against money laundering at casinos a notch. Just recently, the province announced a new regulation which will prohibit people convicted of crimes such as money washing and forgery from stepping foot at its casinos. All legal gaming amenities in the province are owned by Loto-Québec, with the exception of the Indigenous community ones.
The Crown is concerned that such individuals could affect the integrity of its casinos or undermine the public trust in them. The mentioned crimes are money laundering, forgery, violations of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and charging interest at a criminal rate. People convicted of or have pleaded guilty to such crimes in the last five years will not be welcome at its properties.
Protecting the Integrity of the Industry
In a press release from this week, Claudia Loupret, a spokesperson for Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard, commented that Loto-Québec and the local government seek the highest standards of responsible gambling and financial integrity for the provincial casinos. She remarked that the local administration has faith in the regulator to implement the new regulations.
According to the province, the new rules will be put into motion in about six weeks, and the decision follows a 2021 audit by Deloitte into the presence in casinos of members of organized criminal groups. The audit was ordered by Mr. Girard after media reports claimed that organized crime groups received VIP treatment at the Crown agency's Casino Montreal.
The review looked into money laundering, loansharking, the Crown's loyalty program and existing protocols to ensure the security of casino staff. One of the recommendations of the audit was for the regulator to be given the ability to bar individuals connected to crime. Now, more than two years later, the minister's office has decided to follow up on the suggestion.
The Crown corporation further commented that the new protocol will support the many other security measures which are already implemented at its gambling establishments to battle money laundering attempts. According to the agency, the new changes will also make sure that the casinos would be safer for both staff and its numerous employees.
Patrice Poitevin, from the Canadian Centre of Excellence for Anti-Corruption, said the new anti-money laundering regulation is a positive step. In his words, making it harder for criminals to use casinos for money laundering is crucial, as they become more prone to errors when forced to change their tactics. He also noted casino's vulnerability lies in converting money to chips and then cashing out as gambling winnings.
B.C. Casinos Also Targeted by Criminals
The Province of British Columbia has also dealt with an immense volume of money laundering activities by crime groups. In June 2022, Cullen's Commission issued its final report from its inquiry into the topic. It found money washing reached incredibly high levels, due to ineffective efforts by the RCMP, politicians, and regulators.
Source: Serebin, Jacob “Quebec to ban those with money-laundering, forgery convictions from casinos” Global News, July 27, 2023