British Columbia casino operators whacked by new legislation

British Columbia Casino CanadaCasino operators in British Columbia (BC) are facing a difficult time if a piece of new legislation is put through.

The new anti-money laundering legislation may cause casinos to lose up to $67 million every year with a decline in high stakes games. This development is already spreading uncertainty and fear among casinos, with gamblers also getting shot in the foot with the same legislation.

The cleanup began last year when the new BC attorney general David Eby took office. Eby noted that politicians and individuals connected with drugs and terrorism are using casinos to launder money.

To cover up their tracks, casino operators have suddenly become shoddy with their accounting procedures, giving government concerns over the gambling industry. To curtail the situation, gambling regulators in BC decided to seek ways to stem the tide of violations.

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Then they came up with putting a limit on buy-in for high stakes games. Considering the fact that high-roller action is dissipating in BC, gamblers are beginning to take to casinos in Macau and the US. With the new cap on buy-in for high stakes games going to legislation, casino operators may lose up to $67 million every year in the face of the $7,650 proposed cap when the legislation is passed.

Earlier in this year, legislators mandated gamblers spending over $7,600 within 24-hour periods to declare his sources of wealth before casino operators allowed them. When the legislation passed, casino high-roller action dropped by up to 30 per cent and operators lost money as gamblers looked elsewhere to ply their trade.

High spending Asians with alleged links to drug and terror organizations took their money outside BC to patronize other operators as the government began intensive investigations into money laundering activities.

One of the hardest hit is The River Rock casino in Richmond. The casino’s VIP host got deregistered by BC regulators in January. It is also the subject of ongoing investigations for not flagging several instances of money laundering.

Attorney general Eby says he is all out to restore the economy and reputation of the gambling industry in British Columbia and would do anything to achieve this goal.