Friday August 26,2011 : Reducing cash transactions to combat money laundering
 
Gamblers at land casinos in British Columbia are to be discouraged from making cash transactions in a bid to reduce the risk of money laundering, the Canadian provincial government announced this week.
 
The government's Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch said it would be introducing changes with the aim of, "transitioning the gaming industry away from its current state as a cash dependent industry."  There was no indication of the timeframe over which such a policy may be introduced, however.
 
Immediate plans include encouraging customers to deposit using certified cheques and electronic fund transfers from "bona fide Canadian financial institutions." And payout wins between Cdn$5,000 and Cdn$10,000 will be paid to customers by cheque.
 
"Ultimately, this strategy will have a layered approach offering a combination of convenience, incentives and requirements," a government spokesman said. "This will isolate money laundering activity from legitimate gaming, enabling highly effective enforcement action."
 
Other plans involve an increase in casino staff training with the accent on preventing money laundering and working more closely with police agencies to track suspicious player activity.
 
"A key objective is to transition toward greater use of electronic funds by making non-cash options more accessible and attractive to customers, while not discouraging legitimate play," a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Safety said Wednesday.
 
Local media report that the planned changes are the result of revelations earlier this year that Cdn$8 million in unusual transactions at some BC casinos were reported to gaming authorities between May and August 2010.