The former director of VIP guest relations, Lisa Gao, at the troubled River Rock casino in British Columbia has been officially deregistered by the province’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB). Her deregistration was as a result of her arranging for a cash delivery from a third-party for one of the casino’s high-roller clients.
River Rock Suspected of Numerous Violations
Her actions constituted a direct violation of British Columbia’s anti-money laundering laws. Her deregistration was first announced in January; however, she was able to appeal the decision. Her appeal has been rejected, and the decision to deregister her was upheld by the GPEB. This essentially means that Gao will be blacklisted from working within the casino industry in Canada. It is highly unlikely that she will ever find work in the gambling industry, even in other jurisdictions.
Following recent investigations by the police and the GPEB, it is believed that there have been countless money laundering violations at casinos in British Columbia. River Rock casino has been at the centre of these investigations. There have been accusations of River Rock accepting large sums of unsourced funds from VIP players from Asia.
River Rock License in Danger
Many believe that the failure to adhere to the anti-money laundering rules has encouraged the laundering of drug money, as well as financing terrorism. River Rock casino saw numerous late-night money drop offs for Chinese high rollers. China has very strict regulations on how much money its citizens can take out of the country, which has lead high roller gamblers to turn to underground banking networks. These networks are often run by criminals that have ties to drug cartels.
Things could get even worse for River Rock going forward. The casino will soon be due for its routine license review, and due to recent events, it does not look good. The failure to comply with anti-money laundering laws could see the casino having its license suspended. A casino may be refused license renewal, or have its license suspended or terminated if it is suspected of unlawful conduct.