More attention on British Columbia casinos is certainly not healthy for the local industry. Hark back a few years when the head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Richmond has warned that “the monster is growing”.
This implies that an influx of organized crime surrounds the city’s River Rock Casino. In fact, it could take over B.C.’s gaming industry.
Apparently this has been going on since 2004 and has continuously drained police resources. Ward Clapham, the chief officer of the RCMP at that time said he wanted more funding to start a “casino crime” unit, but the City of Richmond along with the RCMP resisted in 2009.
The unit’s purpose was to target organized crime, including money laundering and loan sharking, operating inside River Rock and Lottery Corp. So why the hesitation? Of note, management had been advised by Great Canadian casino that River Rock investigators were banning high-limit players in the salon.
Cullen Commission lawyers has been probing for details on a 2012 meeting in which three B.C. Lottery Corp. investigators said that management ordered them to stop questioning high-stakes gamblers at the River Rock. It would intimate the VIP players. There were multiple denials.
However, a report of an incident in 2015 outside New Westminster’s Starlight casino involved Paul King Jin, an alleged organized crime loan shark. He is at the center of RCMP investigations of money laundering in Lottery Corp. casinos.
Jin was seen meeting with two employees from Gateway, a casino-service provider in B.C. According to an investigation report by Stone Lee, a Lottery Corp. investigator at the River Rock, a proposed expansion of the high-stakes gaming room at Starlight casino was made.
However, a lawyer for Gateway Casinos told Lee that the real purpose of the meeting between Jin and the two Gateway employees was a proposed real estate development in a parking lot beside the Starlight.
Testimony is ongoing. The inquiry is raising the issue that money laundering is a Canada-wide problem. Within this context, British Columbia may have more high-level organized crime groups and professional money-laundering networks than any other province.