Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and the Risk to Canadian Casinos
The federal government released a report in early August, which outlines its assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks in Canada. For the first time, the gaming industry has been included alongside other industries, such as banks, as having an inherent risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Canadian gaming industry takes the issue of money laundering very seriously and has strict standards and procedures in place to deter and detect criminals attempting to exploit casino and racino operations.
As the report states, “Canada has a comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Anti-Terrorist Financing (ATF) regime that provides a coordinated approach to mitigating the inherent risks identified in this assessment and combating money laundering and terrorist financing more broadly. The AML/ATF regime is operated by 11 federal regime partners, eight of which receive dedicated funding totaling approximately $70 million annually.”
According to the federal government’s report, land-based casinos have a “high” vulnerability rating which places the gaming industry as being less vulnerable than banks, trust companies, corporations and money services businesses, all of which are ranked "very high".
Specific to casinos the report concludes that “Given the larger number of products and services offered to clients such as cash purchases of chips, slot machines accepting cash, currency exchanges, self-service ticket redemption machines and so on, brick and mortar casinos are exposed to higher inherent money-laundering risk scenarios than provincially regulated online casinos.”
The Canadian gaming industry has implemented world-class security and surveillance systems and has thoroughly trained staff to detect any suspicious activity, including signs of potential money laundering. Casinos are also highly regulated environments with prescriptive rules that cover everything from how games are played to how cash and chips are handled. The report did not flag casinos as being vulnerable to terrorist financing.
For those interested in reading the report in detail, a copy can be found at http://www.fin.gc.ca/pub/mltf-rpcfat/index-eng.asp