Illegal gaming unit killed in 2009 due to BCLC 'funding pressure' – Vancouver Sun

B.C.’s illegal gambling task force was shut down in 2009 due to urgent “funding pressure” on the B.C. Lottery Corp., according to a confidential B.C. government memo obtained by Postmedia News.

The March 2016 memo for then finance minister Mike de Jong, is the first known document indicating the illegal gambling task force was disbanded by B.C. officials for financial reasons.

Also, the document suggests, in the aftermath of the unit’s closure, organized crime in B.C. has been able to increase its dangerous reach into both legal and illegal casinos, for the purposes of money laundering.

The document was prepared for de Jong by B.C.’s Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch. It says that from 2003 to 2009, the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET) investigated crimes surrounding “common gaming” houses, animal fighting, and bookmaking. The unit was not tasked with investigating money laundering in B.C.’s licensed casinos, the document says.

But IIGET managers in January 2009 filed a threat-assessment asking for an expanded role, and warning of the potential influence of organized crime in B.C. Lottery Corp. regulated casinos.

Instead, in April 2009, B.C.’s illegal gambling task force was disbanded.

“IIGET’s budget was cut due to exigent funding pressure on the primary funder, BCLC, and a perceived lack of effectiveness,” the March 2016 internal memo, obtained in a freedom-of-information request, says. “Since this time, investigations and enforcement of illegal gambling activities has been conducted by individual police departments in an ad-hoc manner.”

The memo says that as of March 2016, “there has been a significant increase in the use of illegal gaming houses in the province and the legitimization of proceeds of crime through B.C.’s gaming facilities.”

The memo also indicates that since 2011 in B.C. there have been no charges laid in relation to common gaming houses.


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