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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the governance structure for gaming in BC?

The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) of the provincial Ministry of Finance regulates all gaming in British Columbia, ensures the integrity of companies in the gaming industry, their employees and equipment, and investigates allegations of wrongdoing. This mandate includes regulatory oversight of British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC). GPEB carries out its mandate under the provincial Gaming Control Act and Gaming Control Regulations and the Criminal Code of Canada.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is a provincial Crown corporation with a mandate to conduct and manage gambling in BC. BCLC offers socially responsible gambling entertainment while generating revenue to benefit health care, education and community groups across BC. It is responsible for the integrity and security of every game and put policies and procedures in place so that standards are met and maintained.

Gaming operators have operational service agreements with BCLC. They own or lease gambling facilities like casinos and community gaming centres and maintain the facility operations on a day-to-day basis. They hire the staff you see at facilities, provide surveillance and security behind the scenes and operate to the standards set out by BCLC and GPEB.

Private corporations operate casinos, racetracks, community gaming centres, bingo halls, hospitality locations with food and beverage and entertainment. One gaming operator may own and operate multiple locations. Currently, BCLC has agreements in place with more than 20 operators at over 40 locations in British Columbia.

What is the business model for gaming in BC?

The model for the gaming industry in the province is a positive one for British Columbians primarily because the BC model is one of the most profitable for a provincial government in Canada. The Province of British Columbia receives approximately 53% of gross gaming revenue after deducting BCLC’s operating costs and payments to private sector gaming operators. Ontario receives about 30% and Quebec receives about 22%. BC is able to receive such a high percentage of gross gaming revenue largely by paying private sector gaming operators some of the lowest operating commissions in North America.

The 53% figure for BC is only surpassed by Alberta where the provincial government permits video lottery terminals (VLT’s) - similar to slot machines - in restaurants, bars and lounges across that province.

BC also employs a unique capital reimbursement program that provides an incentive for gaming operators to invest further in their facilities to ensure they reflect the tastes and expectations of the modern consumer and entertainment seeker.

How are gaming funds distributed in BC?

In fiscal 2016/17, BCLC delivered $1.34 billion in net income to the Province of British Columbia, of which ~75% was produced by casinos, community gaming centres and bingo halls. BCLC’s net income contribution is approximately 2.7% of the provincial budget which helps fund health care, education and important social services and programs across the province. Over the last 32 years, BCLC has generated more than $20 billion in net income to fund provincial, municipal and charitable programs in BC.

Gaming revenue is a more significant source of income for the provincial budget than the fuel tax, BC Hydro, the Liquor Distribution Branch, ICBC, and royalties from forestry and natural gas.

DISTRIBUTION OF GAMING REVENUE IN BC

DISTRIBUTION 2016/17
BCLC Net Income $1.3 billion
Support for public programs, healthcare and education $907.7 million
Provincial Health Special Account $147.2 million
Core gaming operations $13.8 million
Local economic development initiatives $11.6 million
Responsible gambling education and services $5.8 million
Host local goverments $96.8 million
Community gaming grants $134.8 million
Horsemens’ purse payments $11.7 million

The Province shares gaming revenue with local governments that host casinos and community gaming centres in BC

The calculations for these payments are done in accordance with the Host Financial Assistance Agreement between the Province of BC and each local government

$96.8 million was disbursed among 32 Host Local Governments (HLG) in 2016/17. These host governments decide how to allocate resources

Municipalities that host gaming facilities receive a 10% share of net gaming income which is paid after commissions and BCLC operating expenses are deducted. HLG payments can fluctuate based on local market conditions, variations in operating
costs and accounting

In 2016/17, the province distributed $134.8 million to charitable and community organizations

Gaming grants are delivered to non-profit organizations throughout BC to support arts and culture, sports for youth and people with a disability, public safety, human and social services, parent advisory councils, and district parent advisory councils

What is Money Laundering?

Money laundering is the process or techniques through which profits from criminal activity (dirty money) are converted into funds that appear to have been acquired through legal means (clean money). This is typically achieved by moving the illegal funds through a rapid series of financial transactions. Successful money laundering will hide the criminal acts which generated the money and the identity of the individuals responsible. Laundering the proceeds of crime is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada (section 462.31).

What is Anti-Money Laundering?

Anti-money laundering, often referred to as AML, refers to measures implemented by businesses, often mandated by government, which are put in place to counter and prevent money laundering from occurring.

Who regulates Money Laundering and Anti-Money Laundering requirements in Canada?

Specific sectors of the economy are subject to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements mandated by the federal government. These sectors include banks, credit unions, securities dealers, accountants, real estate brokers, dealers in precious metals and stones, money service businesses and casinos. The federal government agency responsible for overseeing and auditing businesses required to have AML programs is the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada – better known as FinTRAC.

In the BC gaming industry, additional oversight is provided by the BC Lottery Corporation and the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch, as well as police agencies.

Who has to comply with Anti-Money Laundering regulations?

Only those businesses listed in the federal Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act are required to have AML Programs.

Examples of such businesses include:
• Banks and credit unions
• Securities dealers
• Real estate brokers
• Money services businesses
• Casinos

Reporting Responsibilities Related to Anti-Money Laundering:

Organizations and businesses governed by AML laws are subject to transaction reporting requirements. All cash transactions of $10,000 or more and suspicious transactions in any dollar amount are required to be reported to FinTRAC. Specific to gaming industry reporting requirements, casinos must complete a large cash disbursement report related to a payout of $10,000 or more resulting from chip redemption, withdrawals from gaming accounts, payment of winnings and other similar transactions.

Overview of Reports Made to And By FINTRAC

Large Cash Transaction Report Count by Sector – Last Three FINTRAC Fiscal Years

REGULATED SECTOR 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 Total
Financial Institutions 989,618 1,103,298 1,170,710 3,264,204
Banks* 904,112 1,018,298 1,083,338 3,005,848
BC Credit Unions* 85,506 85,578 87,272 258,356
Money Services Businesses 6,783 8,175 8,031 22,989
Real Estate 0 4 3 7
Casinos 19,933 21,846 24,141 65,920
Securities Dealers 0 1 0 1
Dealers in Precious Metals and Stones 32 88 71 191
Life Insurance 0 1 2 3
British Columbia Notaries 0 0 1 1
Total of all sectors 3,353,316
*Subset of Financial Institutions

Specific Anti-Money Laundering Practices in BC Casinos:

An AML countermeasure has been put in place to counter each of the potential money laundering vulnerabilities listed below.

1. Casino Chips

Situation: A customer purchases casino chips with a large amount of cash obtained through criminal activity. The customer plays for a short period of time with small bets. The customer then asks to redeem chips for a generic casino cheque. If successful, this would allow the customer to attempt to claim the funds used to purchase the chips were winnings from a casino – a purported legal source of the funds.

AML Procedure: If a customer purchases casino chips with a large amount of cash, plays for a short period of time and then asks to redeem chips, the individual would receive their cash back and a suspicious transaction would be reported to BC Lottery Corporation and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. BC Lottery Corporation would then report to FinTRAC. Cheques are only issued for casino winnings if the win amount can be verified and these cheques are branded “verified win”.

2. Small Denominations Exchanged for Large Denomination Bills

Situation: An individual wanting to launder money by exchanging a large sum of small denomination bills for $50 or $100 bills.

AML Procedure: This money laundering technique cannot be used as BC casinos do not permit the exchange of bills to occur. If such an activity is attempted, the details of the situation and the individual’s identity would be reported to FinTRAC, provincial gaming regulators and police.

3. Credit Cards

Situation: In order to launder money through credit cards, an individual would have to deposit cash obtained through illegal activity to personal or business accounts that would then be transferred to a credit card. The individual would then try to purchase casino chips with the loaded credit card.

AML Procedure: Current AML procedures dictate that casino customers are not permitted to purchase gaming chips with a credit card. This type of situation would be reported to FinTRAC, provincial gaming regulators and police.

4. Casino Accounts

Situation: Some casinos allow their guests to open a personalized casino account into which they can deposit bank drafts and other monetary instruments that are later used for gambling. These accounts may be susceptible to money laundering as customers can deposit large sums of cash, purchase chips, choose to gamble or gamble a small amount and redeem chips for a casino cheque or a wire transfer.

AML Procedure: BC casino operations do not permit guests to be paid out with a casino cheque from their account for funds that are not verified wins. Additionally, guests are not permitted to deposit cash to their casino accounts or wire funds out of their accounts. If such a situation were to occur, the attempted transactions and individuals would be reported to FINTRAC, provincial gaming regulators and police.

What does the gaming industry in BC do to prevent crime?

Gaming operators are committed to providing a fair and safe environment.

All gaming facilities in BC have multiple layers of security to help ensure a safe environment for our employees and customers, as well as the security of each facility itself.

Casinos have more security and surveillance than most other businesses or venues of a
similar size.

All facilities have surveillance throughout the property, including the parking areas.

Gaming facilities operate in a highly regulated environment requiring strict reporting requirements for each incident – whether it is a medical emergency or potential suspicious transaction. Each one must be tracked and a report submitted to the appropriate regulatory agency.

Gaming facilities have strong working relationships with local police forces – if there is a serious incident, the police are contacted immediately.

Research conducted in BC shows that the opening of a gaming facility in a community does not correlate with an increase in crime. The “Socio Economic Impacts of New Gaming Venues in Four Lower Mainland Communities” study looked at the time before and after gaming facilities were built in Surrey, Vancouver, Langley and the Township of Langley between 2004 and 2006. Langley Township and Surrey experienced a statistically significant drop in the number of criminal code offenses after gaming facilities near or in their communities opened. No change in Langley or Vancouver was recorded.

What does the gaming industry do to encourage responsible gambling and to help problem gamblers in BC?

The members of the BC Gaming Industry Association are committed to providing socially responsible gaming entertainment. Private sector gaming operators in BC play an active role in the delivery of responsible gambling programs in partnership with BC Lottery Corporation and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.

Nearly three-quarters (72.5%) of adults in BC have participated in at least one gambling activity in the past 12 months. According to the 2014 British Columbia Problem Gambling Prevalence Study released by the provincial government, 96.6% of British Columbians who gamble do so recreationally. For the majority of the population, gambling is an entertainment option, while a small percentage might encounter difficulties with their gambling behaviours. A number of programs exist to mitigate gambling issues.

RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING PROGRAMS:

GameSense Centres and Advisors
GameSense Centres are interactive information kiosks located within the casino which provide information on responsible play, odds of winning, gambling myths and facts, risk factors and where to find help for problem gambling. They are staffed by GameSense Advisors who are able to share valuable information and connect with guests on the gaming floor. It is important to note that the GameSense Advisors are contracted through Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch and managed by BC Lottery Corporation. To learn more about GameSense, please visit http://gamesense.bclc.com/.

Responsible Gambling Literature
Gaming Operators showcase responsible gambling literature and brochures in various high traffic areas throughout their properties. The goal is to make responsible gambling information easily available for customers who want to learn about responsible gambling tips, odds of the games and other related information. To learn more about how gambling works, please visit http://gamesense.bclc.com/how-gambling-works.html.

No Minors Policy
No minors are allowed in casinos. The 19+ rule is strictly enforced at all BC casino locations. Gaming facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art ID scanning devices and require all individuals appearing under 30 to submit to an ID scan to ensure validity.

Responsible Gambling Marketing Standards
Gaming operators are committed to high ethical marketing standards that do not target minors or portray extravagant or misleading wins. Compliance with provincial gaming marketing standards is required. For a detailed description of the standards, please visit https://www.gaming.gov.bc.ca/legislation-policies/docs/stds-advertising-marketing.pdf.

Employee Training
Educating staff on responsible gambling practices is a key contributor in ensuring players stay informed and on top of their game. With appropriate training, casino employees have enhanced knowledge, awareness, and skills in the identification of possible gambling related issues and make every attempt to respond appropriately to guests who may be experiencing problems.

RG Check Accreditation
All gaming operators in BC have taken part in the RG Check certification process. RG Check is an accreditation program created by the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) and is based on the RGC’s Responsible Gambling Index Standards. The standards are designed to provide objective and independent benchmarks for the content, quality, and breadth of responsible gambling programs designed and delivered by gaming companies. They represent the RGC’s view of efforts by gaming operators to reduce the risk of problem gambling among patrons. To learn more about the RG Check accreditation process, please visit http://rgcheck.com/.

PROGRAMS TO HELP PROBLEM GAMBLERS:

Problem Gambling Help Line
In BC, the Problem Gambling Help Line Number is 1-888-795-6111. The Help Line can be a primary source of assistance for individuals who choose that type of support in dealing with their gambling activity. For more details regarding the BC Problem Gambling Help Line, please visit https://www.bcresponsiblegambling.ca/.

Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program
The Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program is one of the most important tools that can assist in supporting individuals in taking a break from gambling. This program allows an individual to voluntarily exclude him or herself from all casino properties in the province for a set period of time and offers counselling support. To learn more about the Voluntary Self-Exclusion program that is offered in BC, please visit http://gamesense.bclc.com/voluntary-self-exclusion.html.

Counseling and Treatment
For those who need additional support, the Province of British Columbia offers counseling and treatment for individuals or their families free of charge.

How does the gaming industry contribute to local communities in BC?

Private sector gaming operators employ over 8,300 people in casinos, community gaming centres and bingo halls across BC.

These private sector gaming operators generated $1.9 billion of revenue to BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) in 2016/17. BCLC delivered $1.34 billion in net income to the provincial government which helped fund health care, education and other important programs and services in BC.

In 2016/17, 32 Host Local Governments with a casino or community gaming centre in their municipality received a total of $96.8 million in gaming revenue to fund local programs and projects such as civic buildings and upgrades to parks.

The Community Gaming Grant program of the provincial government distributed $134.8 million of gaming revenue to approximately 5,000 charities and community organizations in BC in 2016/17.

In addition to community gaming grants, private sector gaming operators donated over $1.2 million directly to hundreds of charitable and community organizations across the province. They also provided the use of their facilities to community groups for events and their employees volunteered countless hours to support local charities.

The members of the BC Gaming Industry Association are proud to support and be an active part of the local communities where they live and work.

Want to learn more?

Learn More About The BC Gaming Industry Association