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Canadian government clamps down on money laundering at BC casinos

After a report that detailed how BC online casino and land-based casino venues were being used by underworld figures to launder billions of dollars, the Canadian government clamped down with new money laundering regulations.  Casinos are reeling from the results as their growth stalls and revenues fall. 

Money Laundering at BC Casinos

Casinos have always been used by criminals as a place where they could launder money with impunity.  A report that detailed how Asian underworld figures had laundered close to $2 billion at British Columbia casinos spurred the Canadian government into action with new regulations that are aiming to put a stop to the practice.

The report, by Global News, demonstrated how billions of dollars had been flowing through special B.C. Lottery Corp. high-roller accounts. Large amounts were funded by criminal bank drafts and loan sharks. Gamblers were seen using bundles of suspicious transactions and dirty cash in casino high-limit cash cages. Even more sophisticated channels were used to launder cash into bank drafts via B.C. Lottery Corp. “patron gaming fund” accounts. The system exploited Canadian money services businesses, banks and lax B.C. Lottery Corp. money-laundering controls.

Lottery Corp. patron gaming accounts were introduced in 2009 as an alternative for massive cash transactions. Close to $2 billion in funds flowed from questionable bank drafts from 2013 to 2017. Many of those bank drafts came from Chinese high-rollers who have associations with known BC loan sharks.

In addition, over $600 million in suspected dirty money cash in denominations of $20 – bills favored by drug lords -- passed through BC casinos from 2010 to 2016. 

The “patron gaming accounts” at the Lottery Corp. were used almost exclusively by Chinese high-rollers. These punters poured huge sums into Vancouver-area casinos from unidentified sources. Once B.C. police and Gaming Enforcement Branch investigators and police began to report to the BC government about gamblers from China flooding the casinos with suspicious cash, the patron accounts became even more active as the new preferred money-laundering option.

The Lottery Corp. said that the new non-cash accounts were supposed to be funded with bank drafts and wire transfers run through reputable financial institutions to reduce the prevalence of bulk cash transactions in the casinos. The paper trail would discourage money launderers.

Audit documents showed that the patron gaming accounts were mostly funded with suspicious bank drafts including those from multiple banks and money services businesses. There were also instances of third-parties who used “nominees” – stand-in buyers – to fund patron gaming accounts. Those nominees brought in bank drafts that had no account holder or bank customer name on them.

An investigation showed that funds were often quickly withdrawn from the accounts with minimal gambling -- a red flag for money laundering. The patron account gamblers would use B.C. loan sharks as funding sources to avoid China’s capital export controls.

From 2013 to 2017, only a few high rolling Chinese gamblers – about 10 VIPS -- accounted for almost half of the funds that  flowed through patron gaming accounts. These VIPS often deposited millions per night in Vancouver-area Lottery Corp. casinos. They used bags of cash and loan sharks for chip transactions that frequently amounted to over $500,000 per night. Simultaneously, many of these gamblers were using patron gaming accounts.

New Regulations

Last year the Canadian government finally instituted new regulations for Canadian casinos that is aimed at curbing the practice of using the casinos for money laundering.

Under the new rules, high rollers who are buying $10,000 or more in chips within a 24-hour period must verify the source of their funds. This is true regardless of whether they use cash, certified checks or bank drafts.

The casino must refuse the transaction if a customer cannot provide the required information, or if the information is clearly suspicious.  The casino must then notify government authorities and an investigation will be launched.

These regulations were first proposed to the BC Lottery Corp. in 2015.  The corporation turned down the proposal.  Now the practice is obligatory via the Federal Government.

Results

To no one’s surprise, British Columbia’s biggest casinos are now seeing their revenue growth stall. Business in Vancouver reports that the average revenue of the largest BC casinos rose from C$79.7 million ($6 million USD) in 2014 to C$85.6 million in 2018. Yet the total growth of 2018 was only 0.1% higher recorded in 2017. That’s a significant drop from the 2014 reported growth of 4.4%.

Casinos offering both table games and slot machines 2018 saw their revenue from slots rise to 79.1% in 2018 as compared to 71.3% in 2014. At the same time, table share fell  to 20.3% from 28.7%.  The BCLC (British Columbia Lottery Corporation) reported that revenue from land-based casinos – which are managed by private companies but owned by the province –was flat at C$1.9 billion in the 12 months ending March 31.  Table games slipped 7.8% from the previous year while slots were up 2.6%.

River Rock led all BC casinos with revenue of C$323.7 million in 2018. That was a decline of 22.9% from 2014. River Rock’s tables showed the highest table revenue in 2018, averaging $1.7 million per table.

Burnaby’s Grand Villa Casino scored seconds in gaming revenue. Vancouver’s only downtown casino, the Parq Vancouver, came in third.  Struggling in 4th and 5th places were the hard Rock Casino Vancouver and Cascades Casino Langley. Parq was the only casino in the province to generate more revenue from tables than from slots. 

Innovation

BCLC’s innovative PlayPlanner time and budgeting tool was rolled out for members of the Encore Rewards program. The tool might not account for more revenue for BCLC but it’s earning praise as a player-friendly option that allows players to pre-commit to spending and time limits for their gaming events. PlayPlanner lets players pre-set those limits and then generates on-screen notifications  to alert players that they are nearing those limits.

Similar tools have been available since 2004 on BCLC’s online casino PlayNow.com but by adding it to the Encore Rewards program, BCLC makes it more user-friendly for higher betting players.

 

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In addition to the hundreds of games available at the Grande Vegas online casino, casino management makes sure to add several new games every month. Look here for the new Grande Vegas games being launched each month. There is always something new to check out!

New online casino games keep the excitement levels high at Grande Vegas casino. So not only do you have your favorite games to come here to play, you’ll have new games every month to try out and add to your favorites list.

Be sure to also check out the special promotions which are run around the excitement of the new games release. Your account might be bonused with free cash for you to try out one of the new online casino games. Or maybe you’ll be credited with free spins to try out a new slots game.

So come here often to get in on the fun at Grande Vegas!

You’ve reached the Grande Vegas online casino – and grande it is!  With the best games, all the platforms, fun and interactive promotions, the most convenient banking methods, 24/7 responsive support, and on and on – it just doesn’t get any better than this.  But let’s take it one step at a time.

Grande Vegas has literally hundreds of games for you to choose from.  Slots, progressive games, table games, video poker, craps, roulette, keno and more!  Grande Vegas online casino games are developed by RealTime Gaming – one of the industry leaders in online casino games.  These games can be played on your desktop computer, on the go with your laptop, on your mobile phone or on your tablet.  You are in control – you decide when and how you play!

To get you going, the Grande Vegas casino bonus for first time players is a healthy 100% match up bonus, up to $100.  In other words, you deposit $100, but you play with $200!  This welcome bonus is followed up with more bonuses during your first week.  And those bonuses are followed up with free cash bonuses, free spins bonuses, daily, weekly and monthly bonuses, and more!  The VIP Club grants you comp points each time you bet, which in turn, becomes cash to bankroll even more casino play!

To make your game play as convenient and smooth as possible, Grande Vegas has a full range of banking methods:  Visa/MasterCard, Neteller, eco, Skrill, CDS.  This guarantees your fun is safe and secure, and isn’t this what we all want?

Now let’s say you still have a few questions and would like to get some answers.  Their 24/7 support team is knowledgeable, friendly and ready to help you out.  Contact them by email, phone, live chat or skype for immediate answers to your questions.

But don’t take our word for it – please feel free to check around our site, download the casino, or check it out on your phone or tablet.  We’re sure you’ll be pleased…. looking forward playing together!

If you like big game thrills and chills, be sure to play the progressive Grande Vegas games!

A progressive game is a game that is networked with all the casinos using the same software provider. Each time a player in each of the RealTime Gaming casinos, bets on a progressive game, part of that bet is funneled to the progressive jackpot of that game.

In this way, the jackpots on the progressive online casino games can easily provide life-changing winnings, tipping well over the $1,000,000 mark!

Try our progressive slots games or our progressive poker game and shoot for your first million!

Grande Vegas slots games are THEEEEE BEST! With over 100 slots games available online, it would be fair to say that slots are our specialty. The most popular game at online casinos is slots, and our online slots are clearly the most popular game at Grande Vegas.

Slots games come in all shapes and sizes. We’ve got 3-reel slots, 5-reel slots and even the unusual 6-reel slots. And our games have all the most popular features – wild, scatter multiple paylines and more. We’ve got online slots with bonus rounds like free spins. And we’ve got online slots which are progressives reaching jackpots of over $1,000,000 on a single spin.

We leave all the decisions in your hands – how much to bet, how many paylines to play, to use auto-play and more.

Into free slots? No problem! You can play all our slots for free, for as long as you wish. When you've learned all the ins-and-outs of the game, play for real to win for real!

As far as game subjects go – we’ve got them all: suspense, fun, cartoon, romance, exotic, food, science fiction, movies and more.

Download our online casino onto your computer, or play our live games on the site without download. Or take our slots on the go with your phone and/or tablet. Where and when you play is up to you.

Be sure to try Grande Vegas online slots – you won’t be disappointed!

The specialty games at Grande Vegas casino may be the smallest group of games at the casino, but they pack a punch! For those players who like the traditional casino games, this is the place.

We've got two varieties of Roulette: American and European - for that James Bond feel. You can master the game in these two popular versions. American roulette has the characteristic double zero (00) with the fun that that brings on, while the European roulette has a single zero (0) with the added statistical advantage that gives the player. Then there’s French roulette belonging to those who developed the game. And if roulette is your game, then charge it up with multi-player roulette. Check them all out!

If you like the challenge of a good Craps game, be sure to visit our Craps table where you can almost hear the cheers of the crowd behind you!

And if you like both Roulette and Craps, check out Sic-Bo. It’s a bit of a combination of the two – predict the numbers that will come up when the dice are thrown.

But that’s not all our specialty games – not nearly. Check out our two forms of Bingo. We’ve got a standard Bonus Bingo game and our super charged Roaring Twenties Bingo with all kinds of features to spice up the game like the Extra Ball play, the Turbo Draw, the Multiple Draw and more!

And if you like bingo, Keno is a sort of reverse bingo where you predict which numbers will be drawn.

It doesn’t end there! Grande Vegas offers 5 scratch cards for a quick try at your luck – choose, scratch, and win!

In short, Grande Vegas has almost an endless list of types of games for you to play – we don’t stop at slots – we’ve got it all!

There are some players who prefer table games above all others.  Grande Vegas table games are great at recreating the atmosphere at a live casino as you play at home you are totally immersed in the games.

The two most popular table casino games have long been blackjack and poker.  Grande Vegas has a nice selection of both blackjack and poker so you can easily move from game to game or stay put if that’s your desire.  Unlike a land-based casino, where you might have to wait for a seat at the table if you decide to switch or might be concerned about losing your seat at the table you’re at, Grande Vegas table games guarantee you a seat at every table and guarantee that you’ll have your old seat back if you want it.

All eight blackjack variations and all of the poker games boast the very best and most realistic graphics.  This has always been the hallmark of Grande Vegas Casino: great graphics so you have the full circle of gaming pleasure from the very first bet.

One of the big benefits of having a large assortment of your favorite table casino games is that if you ever choose to go to a land-based casino and are lucky enough to get a seat, you’ll already have hours of experience playing these same games.  Playing table games at Grande Vegas is as much a learning experience as it is a fun and entertaining time!

In addition to blackjack and poker, you can play rummy and baccarat.  Only at an online casino can you pull up a seat at a “table” while comfortably ensconced on your favorite and most comfortable chair.  If you’re playing on your mobile device, you might even be in bed!

So the table games fun is here at Grande Vegas casino.

Video poker is one of the fastest growing online casino games.  First and foremost, it’s a lot of fun to play, giving you all the poker excitement without the need to concern yourself about bluffs.  The dealer never bluffs in video poker!

Practice Makes Perfect

Grande Vegas video poker also provides great practice for those times you’ll play against live opponents.  For example, you learn to recognize the value of the millions of different hands you might be dealt.  In some ways, video poker strategy is not much different than strategy in any other poker game.  But in other ways it’s quite different.  It pays to learn all about video poker strategy and to learn how to apply it to other poker variations.

Manage Your Bankroll

Importantly, video poker always has a very high rate of return so you can play, enjoy, and gain important experience all the while having a very good chance to end a long playing session with a well-earned plus in your bankroll!

Grand Vegas video poker gives you many opportunities to expand your poker horizons whilst getting great pleasure just simply playing.  Poker has its great fan base because it’s a thinking player’s game as well as being lots of fun to play.

Multi-hand Poker is Multi-fun

Grand Vegas video poker gives you the chance to play single hand, three hands, ten hands, or fully fifty-two hands!  The graphics are quick, colourful, and appealing.

A Quiet Word of Advice

Here’s a bit of video poker strategy offered as a bonus to you, the video poker enthusiast.  It’s usually better to go for the higher paying winning combinations.  This means going for a straight flush over a simpler winning hand.  The straight flush comes infrequently but when it comes it pays off handsomely.

A side aspect of this tip is that in order to get the highest payout from the best hands, you should always bet the maximum.  In fact, betting the max is the best way to manage your bankroll in video poker!

So, try all the Grand Vegas video poker offerings and enjoy!

The fun is just a touch screen away when you play on the Grande Vegas mobile casino.  This mobile casino has a full array of all the best games, specially adapted for your phone and/or tablet.  No matter what your favorite game is, this casino mobile version has what you’re looking for.

The games are among the best in the industry - powered by RealTime Gaming.  Their motto is:  Take Gaming Seriously – and they do just that!.  With outstanding graphics and audio feed, the games are fun, interactive and full of payouts!

And you’ll find what you’re looking for with slots in a large variety of subjects – science fiction, whimsy, magic, folklore, suspense, history, adventure, mystery, mythology, comedy, romance, magic, travel and more.

Slots not your thing?  No worries, you’ll find dozens of poker, video poker and blackjack games to choose from as well.

Grande Vegas mobile casino is a real winner when you add in their generous welcome offer for new players.  And the benefits do not end there.  Their great welcome bonus is followed with on-going promotions – daily, weekly, monthly with free cash and free spins – which add more fun and excitement to your gaming!

This casino has been specially designed for use on your mobile phone or tablet, so you’re sure to find your way around clear and simple.

Deposits and withdrawal of winnings is easy – and secure!  With a variety of banking methods to choose from, you can choose to use your credit cards, bitcoin or Neteller account.

And just as your phone and tablet keep you playing on the go, Grande Vegas mobile casino has 24/7 support available to you at all times.  Use their toll-free number or live chat to speak to a trained and friendly service representative at any time of day or night.

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