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B.C.s top casino slot machine players rake in millions in ja

Source:sites edit:casino time:2017-12-22

A review of gamblers placing massive bets in B.C. Lottery Corp. casino slot machines has raised concerns about the “effectiveness and/or existence of controls to monitor slots for money laundering,” documents obtained by Postmedia News show.

Documents say a B.C. gaming policy and enforcement branch review of BCLC slot machine play was triggered by the 2016 B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office case against Michael Mancini, a Salmon Arm landscaper.

The case alleged that Mancini — who claimed he legitimately won about $2.2 million in one year of playing B.C. casino slot machines — was frequenting BCLC casinos “for the sole purpose” of laundering money obtained through drug trafficking.

In response to Mancini’s case, B.C. gaming enforcement investigators conducted a review of the 10 top slot machine players in BCLC casinos, in terms of large cash transactions. Investigators studied the period from April 2015 to April 2016. The review only counted the 50 most recent transactions of over $10,000, for each player. These transactions alone accounted for $33 million in disbursements, most of which were slot jackpots paid out in cash.

The identities of the 10 big gamblers, and what each gambler bet, won, lost, and the average bets made, are completely redacted, to protect police investigations. Of the $33 million figure, the review explains, “it is important to note that the disbursement number does not indicate the patron’s net win.”

The review’s scope included concerns about “anonymous” play with slot machines, and the use of casino ticket redemption machines. The big gamblers studied were sometimes cashing out tickets redeemed for slot machine credits not played, review documents say.

Related

Casino experts say that gamblers can submit slot machine vouchers into ticket redemption machines and receive cash back in exchange, and that in this way gamblers do not need to be identified at casino cashier windows.

The review also looked at whether slot players could exchange $20 bills for $100 bills.

“There is a risk that slot machines could be used for refining … i.e. converting $20 bills into $100 bills,” the review says. Inside casinos, $100 bill deposits are viewed as less suspicious for money laundering concerns than $20 bill deposits. However, the 10 big slot players studied apparently were mostly feeding $100 bills into machines, according to the review.

A heavily redacted conclusion for the slot audit states: “(redacted) makes it virtually impossible to determine a true value of their spend … or to get a complete picture of their play. It appears that while controls are in place within BCLC systems to detect suspicious slot play, they may not be utilized to their full potential.”

In Mancini’s case, jackpot winnings and verified casino win cheques apparently were an important factor.

According to the allegations, in October 2015 Mancini was stopped by police in a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, parked in a handicapped stall of the Chances Casino in Chilliwack. He had been spotted driving erratically, and was arrested after failing a sobriety test.

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