In the latest Canadian casino news, an investigation into allegations of third party cash buy-ins at the British Columbia-based River Rock Casino has led to the casino’s VIP gambler relations’ director’s registration being revoked by local authorities. Local media outlets have reported that the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), which oversees all legal gambling within the Canadian province, was responsible for deregistering Lisa Gao.
Gao’s professional LinkedIn profile has revealed that she has served VIP punters at the Richmond land-based casino for more than 5 years. Gao has had her registration revoked after an in-depth probe that was launched in November last year. The investigation was sparked by allegations that the VIP gambling director was involved with ‘third party cash buy-ins’, which reportedly violate British Columbian anti-money-laundering laws.
Lisa Gao’s case has now been confirmed with the local provincial government by media outlet Postmedia, which also asked the government and the British Columbian Lottery Corporation to comment on the allegations. According to the news outlet, its questions were deferred by the BCLC to the Ministry of Attorney-General, which confirmed that Gao ‘acted in direct violation’ of the Corporation’s laws and Fintrac’s third party cash buy-in directives.
It was late in November last year when the GPEB first began to review Gao’s registration and came to a decision regarding the aforementioned allegations, according to Postmedia. However, the Vancouver Sun has noted that the ministry’s choice to revoke registration may be preliminary, and could vary. The GPEB has now received a request to review the decision, and will soon reveal its own consensus.
This probe has come at the same time as another investigation by independent reviewer Peter German, which was ordered by Attorney-General David Eby to clarify the circumstances that allowed VIP Chinese gamblers to flood B.C. casinos with ‘suspicious’ cash funds. German was hired shortly after an audit was released in 2017 by national tax, accounting and business consultants at MNP. The audit revealed that over $13.5 million in $20 bills was accepted at River Rock Casino back in mid-2015, much of which was suspected to be the proceeds of drug-trafficking activity. It was also revealed that large volumes of cash were being dropped off at the casino at night, the bulk of which was being presented by high-rolling ‘Asian VIP’ clients.
The casino even allegedly allowed VIPs to buy gambling chips with over $500,000 in small bills during a single transaction, even although the source of the cash had not been verified. In light of this, the Unite Here union has now requested to see 5 years’ worth of communications between the BCLC and the casino’s owner due to concerns that high rollers could be using some local casinos to launder millions’ worth of illicit cash.