December 5, 2017 / 8:45 PM / 11 days ago

Big-money gamblers face new scrutiny at British Columbia casinos

VANCOUVER, Dec 5 (Reuters) - High-roller gamblers will now face more stringent anti-money-laundering standards in British Columbia casinos, the province said on Tuesday, as it unveiled the first set of recommendations from a review of its embattled casino sector.

Gamblers wanting to deposit cash or bonds worth C$10,000 or more will now need to provide identification and proof of their source of funds, including details on their bank and the account from which the money is sourced, the province said. Two consecutive large transactions will trigger added scrutiny.

Regulators will also be placed onsite and visible in casinos at all times, the province said, to provide the “increased vigilance” needed to ensure anti-money laundering protocols are followed at the provincial-regulated facilities.

The review, launched in September, stemmed from an internal report released this year that highlighted lapses in anti-money laundering rule compliance at a Vancouver-area casino popular with “high roller Asian VIP clients.”

Media reports have also noted similar issues at other Vancouver-area casinos, in many cases tying the suspicious funds to the West Coast city’s runaway housing market.

“Our government has made clear the urgency around addressing issues of money-laundering at B.C. casinos, and we will ensure these first two recommendations are not only implemented as soon as possible, but enforced on the ground,” Attorney General David Eby said in a statement.

The recommendations unveiled on Tuesday are the first from investigator Peter German, a former deputy commissioner with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who will provide his final report to the provincial government by end of March 2018. (Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by David Gregorio)

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