Lisa Cheban | 01 September, 2023 13:44 | Last update on: 01 September, 2023 13:44
The government of Québec has been actively putting in place measures to protect its gambling space from individuals linked to organized crimes. One of the latest measures by the Canadian province is to ban individuals linked to organized crimes from setting foot inside regulated casinos. The government has singled out crimes such as money laundering, drug dealing, and forgery.
According to the province, those who have been found guilty of or admitted to committing the crimes mentioned above over the last five years could jeopardize the integrity of casinos. The government says such characters could erode public confidence in these legal gambling venues.
These offences include:
- Contravening the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
- Money laundering
- Charging interest at a felony rate
The new regulations come after a recent audit report by Deloitte in 2021 revealed how members of organized crime groups use casinos. It also follows media allegations that organized crime figures had received special treatment at the Casino de Montréal.
The audit examined loan sharking, money laundering, and Loto-Québec’s loyalty program. In addition, the study looked at the current gambling measures to ensure the safety and independence of casino staff in the province.
Commenting after introducing the new measures, Claudia Loupret, a spokeswoman for Quebec’s Finance Minister, Eric Girard, said: “Loto-Québec and the government are aiming for the highest standards of responsible gaming and financial integrity. We have confidence in Loto-Québec to implement these new measures.”
Loto-Québec added: “This additional measure supports the many other security measures already in place to combat money laundering at our establishments and ensure that our casinos are safe entertainment venues.”
One of Deloitte’s standout suggestions was to give Loto-Québec the authority to bar individuals associated with criminal activity from entering casinos in the province. The government has yet to comment when asked why it took more than two years to introduce the new measures.
Meanwhile, the province’s gambling regulator has said talks are already underway to end the casino workers’ strike that has lasted for over a month. The strike involving 1,700 casino employees has been on since June 23 after negotiations between the CSN-affiliated labour union and Loto-Québec yielded no results.
Both parties have kept things secret for the past few weeks, refusing to give any information regarding the ongoing strike. But that has since changed after Loto-Québec said negotiations with the union have resumed.
“Loto-Québec is pleased to report that serious and constructive discussions between the parties have resumed, despite the strike still being in effect. Negotiations are currently underway,” commented the regulator’s spokesperson.
Québec currently has up to ten regulated gambling venues. Of this total, Loto- Québec, the province’s gambling regulator, operates four. Until the strike ends, the affected casino venues will continue to serve on modified schedules.