Several years after it shut down its illegal gaming task force, the B.C. Government has announced a new one it says is part of an anti-money laundering strategy.
The specialized unit will be jointly funded between the BC Lottery Corporation and the federally through the RCMP.
That means the corporation is funding policing casinos with some potentially dirty money, something Finance Minister Mike de Jong denies is a conflict of interest.
“The government and the people of British Columbia in terms of healthcare services, education services derive benefits to the tune of $1.25 billion from lawful, legal gaming operations in B.C.”
Solicitor General Mike Morris says the new Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team will have two objectives.
“To target and disrupt top tier organised crime and gang involvement in illegal gambling, and to prevent criminal attempts to legalize proceeds of crime through gaming facilities.
22 RCMP officers and 4 gaming enforcement investigators will make up the task force.
Liquor store loophole
But Morris says the task force won’t be dealing with alleged cases of money laundering in liquor stores.
“No, we’re asking the public to step up to the plate and report all suspicious transactions, all suspicious acitivities within the province.”
Under BC law liquor stores are under no obligation to report massive cash transactions.
However Morris said he will be talking to his federal counterparts about “blocking some of those holes that might be in [the] legislation.”
Last month, the NDP produced emails showing concerns from a liquor store manager about people paying cash for purchases over $10,000.