The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) revealed that it has hired a third-party auditor as part of its actions to make sure that its Casino Service Providers are operating properly.
Earlier, BCLC has reiterated its commitment to help the province’s authorities to prevent illegal money laundering practices in BC casinos, so it now wants to ensure that all information regarding the source of players’ funds is recorded thoroughly and accurately.
The third-party auditor hired by the Corporation will be engaged with the monitoring of BCLC’s three busiest casinos and support their compliance with the Source of Funds declaration requirements. The latter were rolled out by the company in January this year after Dr. Peter German, the former deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), made certain recommendations in his report regarding the alleged anti-money laundering practices in Lower Mainland casinos.
The initial monitoring of the compliance of the BCLC’s Service Providers proved that additional third-party scrutiny was necessary. As mentioned above, the auditor’s oversight is to be aimed at the information gathering practices of three BCLC casinos, including River Rock Casino Resort, Parq Vancouver and Grand Villa Casino.
Players Need to Provide Source-of-Funds Declaration for CA$10,000 Transactions
The BC Lottery Corporation is trying to make sure that the three aforementioned casinos are properly gathering the necessary information regarding the source of player funds for all money transactions exceeding CA$10,000. The third-party auditor’s monitoring is set to continue until the company is satisfied with the level of compliance demonstrated by its casino service providers.
Since January 10th, 2018, all money transactions amounting to CA$10,000 and more need to be accompanied with a source of funds declaration, which is required to feature certain requisites. Depending on the situation, casino players may also be asked to provide supporting banking documentation. These changes were implemented following the findings of Dr. Peter German, whose investigation into the BC casino industry showed massive irregularities and foul money-laundering practices.
Apart from the independent third-party monitoring, the BCLC is also working in collaboration with the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), which oversees the overall source of funds process as part of its role of a gambling regulatory body in British Columbia.
Only recently, it became clear that the BCLC paid its investigators and their managers financial bonuses in the range from 3.6% to 9.6% at the time when alleged money-laundering practices have been taking place across the British Columbia’s Lower Mainland casinos. As Casino Reports has already revealed, the investigators and their managers received the bonuses in the four-year period from 2010 to 2014, based on certain financial targets of the Corporation, and on individual performance, too. This practice was ended in April 2014 after the province of British Columbia changed its policy to prevent such bonuses to be awarded to investigators.
The Attorney General of British Columbia said that new gambling rules aimed at tackling money laundering in the province’s casinos apply for everyone.
Mr. Eby refused to make comments on private issues such as the incident which happened to Canadian rapper Drake at Parq Vancouver but emphasized on the fact that no exceptions to rules are to be made, referring to the new requirement for casino patrons to disclose sources of cash deposits exceeding CA$10,000.
As revealed by Casino Reports, a few days ago, Drake used his Instagram account to reveal that the Parq Vancouver casino’s staff prevented him from playing at the venue, despite he had provided them with everything they had originally asked him for. The rapper blamed the casino for profiling him and called Parq Vancouver “the worst-run business” he had ever seen.
The casino issued two statements following the incident, apologizing for what happened but also explained that its staff was simply complying with the standard procedure rolled out as a result of the anti-money laundering measures imposed by British Columbia’s regulators.
Reddit User Disproves Drake’s Version of the Story
Despite the wave of Drake fans’ outrage, the rapper’s version of the story was disputed by a Reddit user who claimed he is an employee of the casino. According to the user “O-A-N”, Drake went against the rules requiring him to provide more information about the cash source and explained that the casino staff refused him service because of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) new policy mentioned above.
The Reddit user further explained that the employees of the casino did everything they could to allow the rapper to gamble, including calling up representatives of the regulator. He also noted that the Canadian superstar was thoroughly informed of the policy in question at the time he was refused service and was aware of the fact that he would have broken the law if the Parq Vancouver had allowed him to gamble, for which the venue could lose its gambling license.
According to an update in the user’s post, Drake “did in fact gamble for a while” at the casino. However, the rapper had eventually lost everything and tried to buy-in again with cash, which he was refused.
The user was reached by StarMetro for more information but did not respond to the email requiring some details and confirmation. Later CTV News revealed that it managed to verify the events thanks to another source which was left unnamed.
As mentioned above, the province’s General Attorney did not name the rapper at the time he commented on the situation but explained that new rules were implemented to make sure that all suspicious gambling transactions stay away from casinos.
Mr. Eby further praised the regulators for the changes made, as the new regime has resulted in a massive decline in “suspicious transactions” in British Columbia, despite the casino operators’ previous concerns with the possible impact which such measures could have had on their businesses.
A new research published on Monday revealed that flashing lights and electronic sounds coming from electronic gambling machines (EGMs), which are also known as slot machines or poker machines/pokies, could make players take more risks while playing, which on the other hand boosts the machines’ addictive potential.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, have revealed that the research results showed that people are more inclined to make riskier decisions while being less able to properly interpret information about their chances of winning when exposed to so-called “sensory cues” such as catchy electronic sounds and bright flashing lights. The situation gets even more complicated when the sensory cues are associated with previous wins.
“We found that an individual’s choices were less guided by the odds of winning when the casino-like audiovisual features were present in our laboratory gambling game.” – Maria Cherkasova, study’s lead author, said
Prior to this study, there were some animal studies which proved that blinking lights or specific sounds which are paired with a certain reward, lead to riskier decision making. Now, the new study carried out by experts working at the University of British Columbia (UBC) demonstrated that so-called “classical conditioning” is also applicable to humans, and not only to animals through mechanisms such as sensory cues.
Over 100 adults took part in the study, playing laboratory gambling games which featured flashing lights and catchy tunes to enhance their desire to play. As revealed in the results, these audiovisual features could have a direct influence on the decisions made by users of so-called electronic gambling machines.
Losses Disguised as Wins Are Also Dangerous to Players
Electronic gambling machines, which are also known as slots or pokies, combine sensory cues and rewards. Throughout their study, the researchers have developed a model which combines the main principles of two types of conditioning.
On one hand, there was the classical type of conditioning, which is associated with observing the so-called cues. On the other hand, there was the operant type of conditioning, which focuses on the reward structure offered by a certain game. Then, the results of these two principles’ analysis were considered along with the principles of operation of the brain’s reward system.
Apart from the sensory cues analysis, the study of the University of British Columbia (UBC) also paid attention to the so-called “losses disguised as wins” problem. As revealed by the lead authors of the research Mariya Cherkasova and Catharine Winstanley, losses disguised as wins occur when an EGM user bets on multiple lines on a certain machine. This provides the player with the chance to get a reward which, however, is smaller than the amount wagered.
According to the results of the study, a stimulus such as the losses disguised as wins could create a wrong impression in players, making them overestimate their winnings and continue to place wagers on the machine.
Last Friday, unionized casino workers of Gateway Casinos decided to ratify a new contract with their employer, which put an end to an almost 5-month strike. As a result of the decision, nearly 700 employees at the Gateway Casinos’ venues in Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops Vernon were to get back to work in the weekend after 19 weeks spent on the picket lines.
As revealed by BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU), the four-year deal includes improved benefits scheme for the workers, as well as a wage increase of an average of 23.5% for the entire duration of the contract.
The beginning of the month saw the parties reach a tentative agreement, but in order for the preliminary contract to be enacted, the BCGEU members who were employed by Gateway Casinos needed to vote “yes” in order for the deal to be finalized. At the time when the provisional agreement was revealed, the BC worker union that has been defending the interests of the casino workers explained that employees would remain on the picket lines until the final decision is made.
After the Gateway Casinos’ workers ratified the agreement, the Canadian gaming and entertainment operators shared in an e-mail to Global News that an “immediate wage increases for every employee” is included in the new collective agreement, as well as a “robust compensation package” over the terms of the agreement plus some “non-monetary benefits” for the workers.
New Contract Ratification Passes with Close Vote
The president of the BCGEU, Stephanie Smith, brought more light to the matter, saying that the ratification vote was close, so there is obviously more work to be done in all four casinos of the gambling operator, including Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton, Playtime Casino in Kelowna and Vernon-based Lake City Casino.
The vote was really close, with 259 for and 252 against the agreement with Gateway Casinos. Tanya Gabara, a spokesperson for the gambling operators also praised the bargaining committees which, according to her, did a great job by making sure that the new contract was designed in a way that would guarantee fair rewards to the employees and at the same time the terms they agreed on were also reasonable for the businesses which Gateway Casinos operate in local communities.
The strike kicked off in the summer when workers at the four above-mentioned casinos walked off their jobs. A lot of the casinos’ employees claimed that they have not received fair and reasonable rewards for their jobs, so they promised to remain on the picket line until the matter is resolved. However, at first Gateway Casinos said that the demands made by the BCGEU were “unreasonable”, so it was the lack of understanding on this matter which pulled back the process of negotiation. Now, all of them have returned to their workplaces and the work of the venues has been back to normal again.
The Parq Vancouver casino apologized and said it is categorically against racism, following some accusations it faced from the Canadian rapper Drake.
A few days ago, the rapper used his official Instagram account’s story to call Parq Vancouver “the works run business” he has ever seen. As revealed by Aubrey Drake Graham, what the real name of the rapper is, the casino did not permit him to gamble, in spite of the fact that he provided the staff with everything they had originally asked him to.
He was not happy with the treatment received at the Parq Vancouver and alleged the venue’s staff of racially profiling him.
In the weekend, Drake was in Vancouver for two shows from his Aubrey and the Three Migos tour. He seems to have decided to go to the casino an have some fun but as he wrote in his Instagram story, he was denied to do so. After the post was released, a flood of negative comments filled the Parq Vancouver’s website, blaming the gambling venue for the incident.
Parq Vancouver Complies with Strict Gambling Regulation in BC
The gambling venue responded to the accusations in a couple of statements released on Saturday. Despite the fact that the Parq Vancouver did not name the rapper, it revealed that the incident was being actively investigated and apologized for the situation which was described as “the experience our customer had”.
What the casino also explained, was that the staff were not profiling the customer but only complying with the gambling reforms carried out in the province of British Columbia. Joe Brunini, the President of Parq Vancouver, apologized for the situation but denied that racism was the reason because of which Drake was denied to gamble. According to the new rules, which were rolled out by the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) in January 2018, local casinos are required to gather thorough information about the source of a patron’s funds for all transactions of CA$10,000 and more.
@Drake putting parq casino on blast is the funniest shit I’ve seen in a minute ????
— sn (@snand_) November 3, 2018
As Mr. Brunini wrote in the statement, the Parq Vancouver casino currently operates in “one of the most complex, highly regulated industries” in the country, with the venue always looking to improve its customer and communication service. He highlighted the fact that the casino is aimed at offering “safe, secure and enjoyable” experience to all its customers and that it categorically stand against racism of any kind.
Narinda Nagra, the director of marketing at the casino, also said that the Parq Vancouver took the matter very seriously but reminded that the venue needed to adhere to the province’s very strict gambling regulations. The stricter regulatory regime was rolled out after there were findings that British Columbia casinos were used as “laundromats” by organized crime groups and international organizations as part of illegal money-laundering schemes.
The first day of December is set to bring more to the community of Eckville, Alberta, as residents will have the chance to support the youth in the region while participating in entertaining gambling offerings at the Eckville Community Center. The fundraising event is going to provide support for the construction of a brand new playground area at the Eckville Elementary School.
The special event which is set to take place this Saturday is a rather special one for the region, as it provides individuals with the chance to make something great while having fun themselves. Eckville Fundraising Society recently announced the official date when the Christmas Casino Night is going to transform the town and make it a preferred spot for both locals and member of neighboring communities.
Exciting Gambling Offerings Available this Saturday
Since the town does not have a casino venue of its own, projections are that individuals will find this opportunity more than exciting. Doors open at 5.30 p.m. allowing all ticket purchasers access to the venue. However, real casino action is set to take place after 8 p.m. Tickets for the gaming offerings offered by the Eckville Fundraising Society include some $100,000 for participating in the casino games, in addition to two passes for drink purchasing while on site.
These thickets amount to some CA$40, making it a relatively affordable entry fee for all participants. They will have until November 30 to purchase the said tickets and reserve their spot at the charitable congregation. Players will have the chance to give their luck a try while supporting a good cause by participating in games to the liking of Roulette, blackjack, craps, cash crib, and three card poker. There will be food offerings on site will aim to meet the high expectations of all charitable players.
The casino offerings will cheer up the already cheerful mood of this Christmas Casino Night, but organizers promise more to all attendants. There will also be a silent auction which will aim to provide even more excitement to players present. Moreover, all participants will have the chance to give their luck a try at the 50/50 game which will also be held. Another favorite offering for many will be a raffle, further elevating the generated cash for the new playground.
Community Lacks Gaming Offerings
In order to make the gaming congregation even more appealing to residents of the community, organizers have confirmed that players’ drive home will be taken care of. Tiphany Eliuk, president of the Eckville Fundraising Society said the town bus is going to give them a ride home once they are done gambling and are ready to call it a night. Only players of legal age of 18 will have the opportunity to boost the local community and gamble at the special event, just like in a regular casino venue.
What should be taken into account taking into consideration the entire organization of the event, is that the community will also benefit from the new playground in addition to the local kids. The ultimate goal for this playground was set to CA$350,000. For reference, by April this year, the local fundraising organization managed to amass some CA$50,000.
The gambling nature of the congregation on December 1 has been carefully chosen, as Eckville town does not feature a gambling venue. The closest casino venues to Eckville are the facilities in Red Deer. The community enjoys both Jackpot Casino and Cash Casino Red Deer, which is best known for its poker offerings. Eckville residents are already used to make their way to the neighboring community which is some 30 miles away.
International Game Technology is well-known as one of the leaders in the gaming world and its constant pursuit of new opportunities for development has brought it to Canada鈥檚 Lottery field. Through its partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, IGT is striving to introduce e-bingo offerings to the wide audience and diversify offerings in the field.
Canadian Lottery enthusiast will now have the chance to enjoy premium e-bingo action provided by none other than the international leader. Thanks to the wide number of gaming locations overseen by OLG individuals throughout the state of Ontario will have the chance to give their luck a try at one of the 12 charitable gaming venues which will feature the e-bingo titles and give them a try.
Players Ready to Welcome New Offerings
Some of the e-bingo offerings which will aim to attract the attention of as many players as possible are well-known games to the liking of Bengal Eyes, Golden Rooster, as well as Pharaoh鈥檚 Legacy among others. They will commence operation in the 12 locations which also provide other riveting games, such as eBingo, TapTix electronic break-open tickets and Play On Demand (POD) games which successfully bring up to date the traditional game.
IGT鈥檚 choice of developing further in Ontario鈥檚 market and claiming its spot in the bingo sector has been thought through, as the regulations overseeing the field mandate that lottery prizes are not subjected to taxation, meaning that players are set to receive the full amount of winning claimed. The charitable nature of the gaming activity is another positive characteristic driving people towards giving it a try.
Furthermore, individuals are usually drawn to the offerings provided by the OLG, as it guarantees that generated proceeds are reinvested for the improvement of the region, thus benefiting the community. The horse racing industry is also able to benefit immensely from OLG鈥檚 operation.
Future Expansion Porjected
In the meantime, IGT is already familiar in the field, as it provides its platform for iLottery online ticket purchase, facilitating the entire process. In the meantime, it also oversees legal poker operation which is going to fit well with the introduction of the new e-Bingo in collaboration with OLG. Prior to this new introduction, the leading provider specialized in the offering of all-encompassing interactive systems of platforms.
In an attempt to make the entire experience even more personalized, IGT is aiming to target its audience precisely with titles that are guaranteed to draw the attention and be appealing to the crowds. Once e-bingo operation is in full swing across Ontario, other provinces are also projected to welcome such, bringing the exciting offerings closer to people.
It could be recalled that back in October, IGT teamed up with leading software provider NetEnt in order to facilitate future operation in collaboration with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation. This partnership guaranteed the smooth transition and implementation of part of NetEnt鈥檚 diverse portfolio. Upcoming months are set to see IGT鈥檚 footprint expand across Canada.
Casino developer and operator Gateway Casinos is one of the leaders in the field, but it is also willing to support the local field with its operation and this has been recently confirmed by a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Via an extensive report, it was disclosed that the 20-year operational arrangement between Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the casino developer inked this year amounted to some CA$79,349,000.
This is the first time that an exact price tag has been put on the deal which took place in the spring of 2017 between the two leading companies in the gaming field of Ontario. Back then the arrangement was settled in a way that will provide the casino giant with the rights to oversee the management of casino venues in the province. Such gaming venues are located in Sault Ste Marie, Thunder Bay, Clinton, Dresden, Hanover, London, Point Edward, Woodstock, Sudbury, Innisfil, and Rama.
Casino Arrangement Elevated the Ontario Gaming Field
In this amount, there is also a CA$55 million included directly related to the equipment and property purchased by Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. This amounts to the facilities where casino operation is held in Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. The deal also provided the casino operator with the rights to bring to life two new casino venues which are projected to be up and running in the upcoming years.
This week saw information surface about Gateway Casinos still seeking for the most suitable conditions for its future casino venue in North Bay, as at this point conversation is at the stage where the legal department of the casino operator has to iron things out. Sources state the project could reach some CA$24 million, as the company is planning to introduce the new gaming facility in the Pinewood Park Drive area. More information is expected to be revealed soon.
Further in the information recently disclosed it has been clarified the deal between the two companies also covers all gaming devices and slot machines available on site of the casino venues in Sault. Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. It is important that the casino venues perform well, not only because they will benefit the community by doing so, but also because otherwise, the community will feel the impact.
More Information About Casino Branding
The local lottery leader is obliged to provide coverage for the annual losses of the gambling locations in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay. That is if they do not surpass the CA$24-million mark. In addition to this information, the document also provides more details about the way the two casino venues are going to be branded.
The one in North Bay will be operated by Gateway Casinos but it is going to be called Cascades, whereas the ones in Sault Ste. Marie and Kenora will bear the brand Playtime. For the time being the only relative certainty is in relation to the future casino venue in Sudbury which is going to cost some CA$55.5 million to its developer.
This figure is listed in the document and confirmed by Gateway Casinos. As for the operation in Sault Ste. Marie and the transformation of the temporary venue into a permanent one, the region might have to wait some more. The casino operator has not revealed plans for any substantial investment in this project and it is possible that the permanent gambling facility’s construction is delayed.
This Tuesday brought the most recent development around Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, as Catalyst Capital Group Inc. filed for Initial Public Offering of the casino operator. The ultimate goal of this IPO would be the generating of some $100 million with the help of selling shares of the company to investors interested in the company.
The next chapter of the ongoing string of events surrounding Gateway Casinos and Entertainment recently became clear, at the private equity firm gave green light of the IPO. It is facing only the United States making sure that the capital generated provides a further boost for the development of the company.
The company is now looking for buyers of stock in the company for the very first time, following previous attempts to attract other companies interested in purchasing Gateway.
Long-anticipated IPO Launches
At the moment the general environment of the field might not be that positive for Catalyst since it has been going through quite a rough patch for some time. There has been a drop in the Standard and Poor’s 500 stock market index reaching some 9.3 percent over the past nearly two months. According to the filing and information provided in it, all proceeds of the IPO will be utilized by Catalyst Capital.
It has been specified that debts will not be covered by the capital amassed through the public offering of company shares. Companies in possession of shares in Gateway will benefit from it. Furthermore, major changes were announced as well, as it has been confirmed that Newton Glassman, Chief Executive Officer of the equity firm will make his way out of the board of directors once the IPO is over. It will soon be announced who is going to succeed him.
Earlier this year the private equity firm commenced efforts towards launching the IPO and mid-April it introduced many investment bankers to the opportunities the casino company has on offer. Leaders to the liking of Morgan Stanley and Macquarie Group Ltd. were introduced to several of the casino venues situated in British Columbia.
Previous Estimations and Plans
Back then the plans for this IPO was to generate some $400 million, but shortly after the tour of the leading companies across the gaming venues the news flow related to the topic run dry. What was known at the time, however, was that the private equity firm has decided to conduct a dual-track process and either sell part of the company via a minority stake or launch the IPO.
It is not a secret to anyone that the firms also considered the opportunity of selling the entire company to a rival casino developer and operator potentially interested in acquiring Gateway Casinos and Entertainment. A previous attempt at filing for such shares sale and going public was made in 2012, this time facing Canada solely and willing to boost the local economy, but upon further consideration, the papers filed were withdrawn.
This happened after Catalyst’s purchase of the casino company back in 2010, entering almost a decade-long effort to derive benefit from the company. However, the times have changed or the casino company and many investments have been made ever since then. Gateway purchased a portion of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation which has further boosted its offerings. This expansion made sure operation crossed the British Columbia borders and spread through other provinces as well.