BCLC’s Recent Past Tainted By Revelations

By Ben Hamill - March 29 2019
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BCLC Recent Past Tainted By Revelations

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) may have bitten off more than what it is able to chew, following a revelation of potentially incriminating information relating to money laundering. Every last conversation that had anything to do with gambling, new casinos, Lottery games and any topic even vaguely connected to the gambling industry has during the last couple of months been shadowed by concerns about money laundering.

New casino developments in British Columbia have been postponed, Attorney General David Eby has been more intimately involved with investigations involving money laundering and other financial crimes than ever before, at times, one would have sworn that the BCLC itself was crying wolf where no actual reason for any concern was to be found. In short, the entire province was bouncing around about money laundering like a cat on a hot tin roof.

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Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right

But as it turns out, all wasn’t as it appeared to be at eye-level. Allegations are now being flung in the direction of the BCLC as well as various government departments after it transpired that officials as well as the corporation itself might have turned a blind eye to some very unsavoury goings on, supposedly in the best interests of the local economy.

Whether intentionally or not, it’s hard to believe that a body of persons so mindful of every last move made across the gambling board, would have failed to realise that by increasing betting limits on games favoured by Asian players during the exact times when Asian players were prone to spend more money at local casinos, for example over the Chinese New Year, it was leaving the market wide open and especially vulnerable to money laundering.

Senior officials are now reported to have approved the increase in limits in an attempt to increase revenue income in the province. Taking full advantage of market high times isn’t essentially wrong; in fact, it’s a very normal phenomenon across all markets. The real issue is the fact that BCLC officials were incentivising high roller spend, despite various warnings about a rise in money laundering having been issued by industry watchdogs.

Rotten Apples At The Top

The order to increase the limits was issued by government officials, which makes for a double blow in terms of a nation’s trust in its leaders. A very sour spin on the proceedings is the fact that in 2010, Joe Schalk and Larry Vander Graaf, two senior investigative officials in the employment of government, were both given the sack shortly after having made a noise about what they deemed to be suspicious transactions going down at local casino venues in the province. Money laundering too, was a hot topic of conversation. No explanation was ever offered to the general public as to the exact reasons behind Schalk and Vander Graaf’s terminations of employment.

The extent and intent of the BCLC’s involvement isn’t known, and David Eby continues to fight the good fight, but it will be while yet before ordinary BC citizens will blindly follow and trust their leaders.

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