Canadian British Columbia has had a very hot topic that is circulating everywhere, over the last few months. The question is the issue of money laundering that surfaced after an extensive investigation that took place throughout the Canadian province. As the research unveiled more information, it was clear that previously, the BCLC got the green light and the permission to swell high-roller wagering limits to reach 100,000 Canadian Dollars, which was around the time of the year when the Asians express increases its interest towards wagering.
The Chinese New Year represents a particular time of the year, as it is when thousands of Asians take breaks and devote a significant percentage of their time towards traveling the world, and overseas and to indulge themselves in gambling activities. The trend is quite visible in Macau for example, when the weeklong celebration results in a significant surge in gambling revenue in almost all venues. Canada also gets its piece of the cake, as it witnesses a rise in gaming interest during the same period, especially from the high-rollers, which is something that the Ministry of Finance was well aware of it seems.
The investigations revealed that around the celebration period of the Chinese New Year, the lottery corporations received the approval on increasing the wagering limits of its baccarat tables, across its casino venues in BC. The max stake rose from CA$5000 to reach a six-figure number for each hand. Such a move came after the approval of the senior officials in the local government. The reasoning behind such support was that it would lead to a great increase in the gaming revenue of the British Columbia region. Of course, the increase in the income will result in an increase in the regular allocation to the communities that host the gaming venues. It would also in return help boost the development of the Community down the road. Therefore, at the time, increasing the stakes seemed to have a lot of benefits and looked like a viable decision of operation. It could have been a win-win case for everybody involved, as the casinos jump on the opportunity of VIP high-rollers who are willing to put thousands of dollars in the casino. On the other hand, there were numerous warnings regarding money-laundering allegations from the watchdog of the industry.
All of this occurred, even though there was a lot of previous information regarding Chinese VIP high rollers, with suspicious behavior and money-laundering allegations. Therefore, a lot of people are wondering if the local politicians decided to turn a blind eye to all of this. In May of 2015, the then Minister or Finance, Mike de Jong, claimed that the move is going to have a positive result on the province, although many high ranking officials in the GPEB have been warning about the suspicious transactions and money laundering concerns.
Bonnie Trelane is a professional author with a background in igaming and modeling. Bonnie plays Blackjack at many of the prominent casinos in the U.S. and has a fondness for Caesars owned casinos.