EDITORIAL: Better casino rules needed

A guy walks into a casino and buys $20,000 worth of chips with cash – $10 and $20 bills. He plays a couple of quick slots or, perhaps, a hand or two of blackjack, and then cashes out.

It seems everyone except casino operators and the government knows what’s going on. The money is being laundered.

This week the government announced, finally, some measures to combat money laundering at casinos.

Reducing casinos’ use of cash and increasing worker training are among provincial actions announced this week, even though, according to a government press release, the B.C. Lottery Corporation “employs standard and appropriate anti-money-laundering strategies” and the province’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch “has the required level of expertise and is capable of providing oversight related to anti-money laundering and associated criminal activities at gaming facilities.”

The government is now going to push the casinos to make electronic funds “more accessible and attractive to customers, while not discouraging legitimate play.”

Government is also going to push casinos to issue cheques for large payouts and those amounts will be noted whether they actually come from a win.

Fair enough. But wouldn’t it simply be easier to limit the amount of cash a person can use at a casino? Say $100 or $500 even? If you want more, you have to write a personal cheque for it or use your debit card.

The whole idea behind money laundering is to change money without leaving a trail. Force everyone to leave a trail of their money at the casino.

That, however, is not in the cards as it would likely “discourage legitimate play.”

Better to allow a little money laundering than to discourage the fleecing of honest, tax-paying citizens.

– Prince George Free Press

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