As Ontarian casinos begin to welcome back guests in accordance with the province’s ‘Roadmap to Reopen’ plan, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has established an inter-agency task force to monitor cash transactions.
Consisting of representatives from the AGCO, the Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Lottery and Gaming, the task force will be closely watching cash transactions at casinos.
Member agencies can take appropriate action within their legislative mandate if any unusual patterns or transactions of concern are identified.
Derek Ramm, director of anti-money laundering at AGCO, commented: “The inter-agency task force is a great example of the cooperation between provincial agencies to disrupt potential criminal activity and ensure the integrity of Ontario’s gaming industry. I’m very pleased to be working with colleagues from AGCO, OPP and OLG on this project.”
In July 2020, Canada’s financial intelligence unit, FINTRAC, released a report that showed a marked decrease in the amount of large cash transaction and casino disbursement reports being filed since lockdowns were instituted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also raised concerns about money laundering methods that involve the placement of illicit cash into the legitimate financial system.
Ian Messenger, director of anti-money laundering of the OLG, stated: “OLG maintains strong relationships with our task force partners and looks forward to continuing our collaboration to monitor and detect potential money laundering.
“Money laundering has no place in Ontario’s gaming industry. As patrons return to the province’s casinos and gaming sites, we will be working closely with our colleagues at the ACGO and OPP to proactively identify suspected illicit cash and ensure that appropriate actions are taken using our capabilities and those of our task force partners.”
Chief Superintendent Alison Jevons, Ontario provincial police investigation and enforcement bureau, added: “This is an excellent joint initiative that will augment the ongoing efforts between provincial agencies to disrupt potential money laundering within the Ontario gaming industry.
“This inter-agency task force will continue to strengthen the already close working relationships between the OPP, AGCO and OLG to ensure the integrity of Ontario’s gaming industry.”
The Ontario government has previously confirmed that it would move into step three of its ‘Roadmap to Reopen’ today, enabling the reopening of gaming establishments.
In order to enter this level of its roadmap, Ontario needed to have vaccinated 70 to 80 per cent of individuals 18 years of age or older with one dose, and 25 per cent with two doses for at least two weeks