The regulators and gaming operators across Canada each have a role to play in changing the conversation about money laundering at gaming facilities. We must be proactive in sharing the realities of the situation – explaining the safeguards already in place, the work done to promote cash-free alternatives and the enhancements and improvements to existing programs that are currently being rolled out.
It is paramount that the gambling jurisdictions take our role seriously. For example, at BCLC, where I am the Vice-President of Corporate Security and Compliance, we have assembled a dedicated Anti-Money Laundering team with robust analytical capacity. We use the Justice Institute of B.C. Investigative Aptitude Selection tool as part of the screening process for new team members and our security team is in the process of being certified with industry-recognized gold standard training from the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.
The Role of Technology
Technology will also help us combat money laundering. BCLC has signed an agreement with a leading provider of business intelligence software to some of Canada’s major banks. This software is currently being customized to meet the needs of the gaming industry. Once rolled out, BCLC will have an automated solution that alerts staff of suspicious situations based upon pre-programmed scenarios. The software will monitor patrons by name and date of birth against global watch lists and will verify and track business relationships. The solution will help BCLC meet FINTRAC requirements, but will also help us better understand our players, with the same analytical capacity as a small financial institution – well positioned to determine those players who pose the greatest risk.
In addition, BCLC has signed an information-sharing agreement with law enforcement which allows for the exchange of information relevant to gaming management and law enforcement needs. It will allow BCLC and law enforcement to work together to proactively ban individuals from our facilities if they have engaged in criminal offences which generate the proceeds of crime, are a reasonable threat to the public or belong to an organized crime group. So far, as a result of this information, we have banned 40 individuals from gambling facilities in B.C.
Enhancing Industry Integrity
The GSPC understands that anti-money laundering efforts are as important as any other security and surveillance activities on the casino floor. The Anti-Money Laundering Committee is dedicated to enhancing the integrity of gaming and working with all jurisdictions and FINTRAC to advocate for the strong AML safeguards and rigorous procedures at gaming facilities across Canada.
The AML Committee has been working to identify issues, develop strategies and communicate best practices since it was formed in 2011 and will continue to focus on driving a coordinated, effective and efficient response to money laundering concerns and evolving regulatory requirements. As industry leaders, the GSPC wants to ensure that the reputation of gaming in Canada is understood and the opinions of the public are based on facts. Together, we can move the dial on the reputation of the gambling industry and help create awareness that Canadian gaming facilities are among the safest and most secure and that our AML procedures in place across the country are second to none.
Brad Desmarais is the Vice-President of Corporate Security & Compliance and the Interim Vice-President of Human Resources at BCLC. He is also the current Chair of the AML Committee with the Gaming Security Professionals of Canada (GSPC). Brad has over 33 years combined service with the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP. Most recently he served as Inspector in Charge of Major Crimes with the VPD. For more information, please visit www.gspc.ca.