Casinos in British Columbia have faced a slowdown since new anti-money laundering directives in place. Money launderers also experienced a major setback because of these policies. That’s why they are now developing new strategies to help their purpose.
Fintrac reports the change
The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (Fintrac) recently reported that financial criminals are now eyeing low-cash mules instead of high rollers to launder cash. These low rollers are using bank drafts to gamble their funds away. Earlier this week, the agency alerted casino operators to keep a close watch on these players as well.
Most money launderers and criminals used plastic bags filled with banknotes to launder funds. VIP players or “high rollers” usually came with such bags and swapped them for casino chips. It was easy to spot these high rollers. So, criminals have changed tactics that are now focusing on the money mules. These people are using a smaller amount of funds and washing them away at casinos.
Fintrac alerts casinos
Fintrac released an “operational alert” to casino operators this week to pay special attention to those customers who are using bank drafts to fund their gaming accounts or buy chips at their premises. Some of these people could be accompanied by people who have been placed under a gaming ban. Some individuals could also come from jurisdictions like China, where heavy currency control restrictions make laundering money via other means difficult.
According to the agency, most of the mules list their occupation as “unemployed,” “housewife,” or “student.” Their bank accounts show unusually high volumes with most activity coming from unknown sources depositing cash. This money was then used for making bank drafts payable to casinos or other third parties. These drafts provide some level of anonymity and are highly liquid as well.
In 2019, British Columbia was shocked after an independent report commissioned by David Eby, the Attorney General, revealed that the province became a “laundromat for organized crime” by 2016. Some security footage from Vancouver casinos shows how some users carry large bags of banknotes in the casinos. This cash comes directly from underground banking entities that aim to launder money. The cash is frequently related to drug sales, including fentanyl sales, from China and South America.
Most casinos were blinded by the money brought in by the high rollers, who hailed mostly from China. They avoided anti-money laundering laws and started accepting cash without paying heed to the source of the money.