Casino Whistleblower Reveals Canadian Money Laundering Details

For several years, British Columbia has been wrestling with concerns over money laundering through gambling establishments in the territory. Investigations and research showed that tens of millions of dollars from organized crime syndicates may have been funneled through BC casinos.

Casino management always denied knowing anything about money laundering, and most of those claims were probably true. But government officials demanded that measures be put into place in all BC casinos to reduce the amount of money funneled through the cash-to-chips-to-cash process. The new processes required were costly and time-consuming, but officials gave them no choice.

In 2018, BC Attorney General David Eby revealed that anti-money laundering requirements were beginning to work. In fact, new measures and monitoring reduced the amount of money laundering from tens of millions down to about $200K in a relatively short period of time.

Now, a whistleblower is trying to tell the public that there is much more to the story.

Former Casino Supervisor Speaks

Global News wrote a stunning exposé on May 1 that detailed claims from a former Great Canadian Gaming Corporation casino supervisor in Richmond. She has notes and evidence to back up her claims of the casino knowingly allowing organized crime to launder money.

Said supervisor’s name was Muriel Labine, and she first started noticing issues with integrity in 1997. That’s when betting limits increased from $25 per hand to $500, baccarat tables were brought in, and casinos were allowed to stay open longer.

This brought in VIP gamblers, most of whom were accompanied by young Asian men who held the money. Further, she noticed the cash often unusually bundled. And when it ran out, another Asian man would arrive with grocery bags full of more bundles of cash.

– Labine Kept A Journal

Through all of the incidents that sparked her interest, Labine kept dated, handwritten notes in a journal that she has now turned over to authorities. She has also handed over revenue documents from the BC Gaming Commission that seem to coincide with her notes.

Her notes document the apparent infiltration of casinos by Macau gangs or triads, like the Big Circle Boys. These gangs would being in money from Asian countries under the auspices of gambling for fun as high rollers. But the money laundering seemed to be so deep that security and casino staff appeared to be working with the gangs to help traffic drugs and launder money. They also served as loan sharks on and near the property itself.

Labine recorded information from contacts among casino surveillance staff to random casino employees who saw suspicious activity and had personal knowledge of the cash flow patterns. She noted that they were all concerned for their safety. Labine further noted that top-level casino staff ignored her warnings and complaints. She therefore continued her meticulous documentation of the events.

Casino Complicity in Money Laundering

Several key observations in Labine’s notes correspond with records in BC court files. What cannot be verified are most of the details, though. For example, concerning suspicious interactions, names of loan sharks and bettors, and preferential treatment of loan sharks. The same applies to apparent threats from casino staff to remain quiet.

If police caught word of potential activity, they would increase their presence at the casino. In response, the loan sharks and criminals would lay low or find a new casino. But when the police backed off, the activity returned.

Labine then increased her efforts in the early 2000s to alert the top brass at the casino about concerns of employee safety. However, she was often dismissed as letting her imagination run wild. She was told that friends loaning money to friends was not illegal. Furthermore, her issues at meetings were simply unwelcome.

According to Labine, the casinos were making a great deal of money when gangs and loan sharks were running rampant. Consequently, she claims the casinos did not necessarily want it to stop. One casino executive even told her that the Asian gangs would not turn on their own inside an establishment that has been friendly to them. So safety evidently wasn’t a concern.

Response to Money Laundering Claims

Great Canadian Gaming responded without addressing any allegations; “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on employee matters, and specific to this request, we are challenged to understand how allegations from 20 years ago provide value to Global readers/viewers.”

Former Great Canadian VP Adrian Thomas did respond with an interview. He subsequently backed up some of Labine’s claims about when gang activity increased and some of the problems that stemmed from it. However, he denied any associations with known gang members or loan sharks. He also asserted that known gang members at casinos were unconvicted and were simply gambling. Thus not committing any crimes.

Thomas also denied coming to any agreements with gangs to ensure the safety of his employees. He further denied knowing anything about money laundering or drug transactions.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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