Loopholes in British Columbia's flawed casino regulation laws have made it a prime target for money laundering operations by foreign crime families. Specifically, bickering over the chain of command between the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) and the ministry responsible for gaming resulted in gaps that organized criminals exploited.
One particular case involving the termination of a gaming inspector rose to the forefront due to his eventual exoneration. The issue dates back to 2009 when Joe Schalk, the senior director of investigations at the British Columbia branch of Gaming and Policy Enforcement noticed some alarming irregularities. His investigation centered on the sudden influx of large stacks of $20 and $100 bills that began circulating in local casino high roller rooms.
Canadian Gambling Special Report Findings
A five-year probe led Schalk and his team to determine that the cash was being brought in from Asian countries and that organized criminal groups from China were laundering large sums of drug money. Equally alarming was the tepid reception from dealers and other casino employees who were remarkably uncooperative. Their lack of assistance led the inspector to determine that the overly friendly relationship between casino regulators and employees led the regulators to overlook the irregularities.
The intimate relationship between regulators and employees combined with the hostile dynamic between competing law enforcement agencies to create the perfect opportunity for the overseas crime family. However, the investigator and three other team members were fired after their questioning became too close for comfort. Schalk stated that the day he was called in and unceremoniously fired for simply doing his job is a bittersweet memory. At 69, Schalk had actually held off his retirement in an effort to see the investigation all the way through to the end. His firing left him feeling as if he would have been better off retiring at 65.
Today, findings from an independent investigation by Peter German, the former deputy commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are being used to spearhead wholesale changes to how the Canadian Gambling casino regulation laws are to be enforced. Specifically, a brand new policing unit will be created to rehabilitate and administer proper protocol and procedures for money handling.
While Schalk, now retired, states that it's nice to have his name cleared, he believes that there are many politicians and bureaucrats that new of the violations and shouldn't escape justice. Since German's report, several casino employees and gamblers have been arrested or indicted. In addition, several suspected Chinese gang members were arrested at the Seattle airport, well before they could even set foot inside a casino.