Government prepared for fiscal impact of tackling money laundering: Eby

Budget 2018 includes a projection that gambling revenues could decrease by approximately $30 million as a result of tackling money laundering


David Eby

THE Province announced on Friday that it has recommitted to cracking down on money laundering in the gambling industry, and has taken measures in Budget 2018 to address the potential impact on the Province’s revenues.

The government has released the report that was used to evaluate the financial impact ahead of the budget.

“It’s hard to put a price on restoring our international reputation, but it’s a cost British Columbians should know our government is prepared to pay and has budgeted for,” said Attorney General David Eby. “It’s both hypocritical and self-defeating to spend public money fighting gang crime on one hand, while pocketing the proceeds of gang crime at casinos with the other hand.”

Budget 2018, released last month, includes a projection that gambling revenues could decrease by approximately $30 million as a result of tackling money laundering. The BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) used the mid-range of a report, prepared by HLT Advisory Inc., to project its net income for fiscal 2019, in anticipation of recommendations from Peter German on money laundering.

The HLT report was commissioned shortly after the Province appointed German to conduct an independent review of anti-money laundering policies and practices in B.C. casinos. The assumptions made in Budget 2018 will allow the government to account for potential reductions in revenue resulting from recommendations in German’s report, which is expected before March 31, 2018.

“A cash restriction is one of the options available to Dr. German to recommend, and there are many others,” said Eby. “Regardless of how Dr. German recommends we move forward, there will be a fiscal impact of getting the proceeds of organized crime out of casinos. We are so determined to end this illegal activity that we have already budgeted for reforms in Budget 2018.”

On January 10, BCLC implemented German’s first interim recommendation that requires casino customers to complete a source-of-funds declaration for cash deposits of $10,000 or more. All cash and bank draft/certified cheque buy-ins for $10,000 or more, in one or more transactions within a 24-hour period, require an original receipt of the transaction that shows the financial institution, branch number and account number.