Before it was disbanded last year, the RCMP’s Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET) gave a number of warnings about the presence of organized crime at casinos in the Province. Now, as Vancouver prepares for public hearings on the BC Place casino – set to be the province’s largest – the now-defunct unit’s warnings are spurring questions about a potential rise in criminal activity and the ability of police to cope.
In a 2009 report obtained by The Vancouver Sun through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the IIGET warned of casinos’ “extreme vulnerability” to money laundering. Many investigations across Canada have found that members of organized crime use casinos for criminal purposes, the report states. A separate internal assessment, obtained by the Globe and Mail through a FOI, advised that Hells Angels members had, in some cases, succeeded in infiltrating the province’s “legitimate gaming operations.”
The 12-member IIGET was dissolved on April 1, 2009 by then-Housing Minister Rich Coleman. He said the the team, which cost $1 million a year, was not cost effective. Coleman is now Solicitor General.
Fast forward to 2016…
The Government of British Columbia and the Province’s anti-gang agency are joining forces to form a co-ordinated investigation unit designed to crack down on illegal gaming and money-laundering in B.C.’s gaming facilities.
The formation of the new Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team was announced by B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong, Solicitor-General Mike Morris and Kevin Hackett, chief operating officer of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC).
The new team will be located within CFSEU-BC, the Province’s anti-gang police agency and the largest integrated joint forces police unit in Canada.
The primary focus of the new Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team will be to disrupt organized crime and gang involvement in illegal gaming and prevent criminals from using B.C. gaming facilities to legalize the proceeds of crime. The joint team will also work to raise public awareness of the role service providers play in identifying and reporting illegal gaming and financial transactions.
Ah, what a difference a few years make-everything old is new again. Classic. The original enforcement team was disbanded mere weeks after this report was issued,according to Sandy Garossino who passed this onto me today : https://www.scribd.com/doc/35789705/RCMP-Money-Laundering-Report
She points out pages 19 and 22 are a must read- what was redacted in those sections?
As Sandy also pointed out today, BCLC is the only provincial gaming body to be fined for not reporting suspicious or large transactions at casino’s. http://globalnews.ca/news/93891/bclc-the-only-provincial-gambling-body-to-be-fined/
Sean Holmans archives at Public Eye online hold a wealth of info on this entire story,but too few remember that this occurred at all. The unit should never have been disbanded in the first place…
Because when government hears no evil, see’s no evil, speaks no evil…. criminals certain do have fun.