MONEY TO BLOW

Money-laun­der­ing rules, not racism, be­hind rap­per’s be­ing turned away, sources say

StarMetro Vancouver - - FRONT PAGE - More at thes­tar.com/van­cou­ver DAVID P. BALL

B.C.’S new money laun­der­ing laws in the spot­light af­ter rap­per Drake says he was racially pro­filed by a Van­cou­ver casino that stopped him from gambling

Bri­tish Columbia’s new an­ti­money-laun­der­ing laws, not racial pro­fil­ing, may have been what pre­vented Drake from gambling in Van­cou­ver last week­end, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral sources — in­clud­ing an on­line post pur­port­ing to be from an em­ployee at the casino.

The Toronto rap­per, full name Aubrey Drake Gra­ham, just turned 32 on Oct. 24 and has a pen­chant for vis­it­ing casi­nos around the date, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous so­cial-me­dia posts.

On In­sta­gram, Drake wrote: “Parq Casino is the worst run busi­ness I have ever wit­nessed … Pro­fil­ing me and not al­low­ing me to gam­ble when I had ev­ery­thing they orig­i­nally asked me for.”

Drake’s ac­count was dis­puted by a Red­dit user who claimed he is a Parq casino em­ployee, though Starmetro could not in­de­pen­dently ver­ify the truth of that claim. The user didn’t re­spond to an email re­quest­ing more in­for­ma­tion. CTV News, how­ever, said it ver­i­fied the events de­scribed with an­other un­named source.

The user, “O-A-N,” al­leged Drake ran afoul of rules re­quir­ing he pro­duce proof he with­drew funds of more than $10,000 the same day and de­clare its source.

“Ba­si­cally, you need a bank re­ceipt for the same day you buy in,” the Red­dit post said. “He was re­fused ser­vice be­cause of (the Bri­tish Columbia Lottery Cor­po­ra­tion’s) pol­icy that re­quires source of funds from any player try­ing to buy in for more than $10,000 in cash.

“Parq tried to do ev­ery­thing they could to al­low him to gam­ble … in­clud­ing call­ing up BCLC. Drake and his en­tourage were well in­formed of this pol­icy

when they were re­fused ser­vice. If Parq al­lowed Drake to break this law, they could lose their gambling li­cence.”

Ac­cord­ing to an up­date from the same Red­dit user, Drake did end up gambling both that night and the next day.

“He was there for at least six hours that I know of,” the user wrote. “Drake did in fact gam­ble

for a while. Not only did he have his own ($10,000) buy-in, he had a friend at one point wire him money to Parq, which they ac­cepted, and he gam­bled some more. When he lost that, he tried to buy in again with cash and he was re­fused again. Seems like af­ter los­ing ev­ery­thing, he left and threw and made that post.”

A spokesper­son for Parq Van­cou­ver

told Starmetro she “can’t com­ment on spe­cific cus­tomers” for pri­vacy rea­sons but said that “Parq Van­cou­ver is re­spon­si­ble for fol­low­ing all of the reg­u­la­tions set out by B.C. (Lot­ter­ies Corp). We fol­low these guide­lines for ev­ery cus­tomer.”

The casino said in a Satur­day post on its In­sta­gram ac­count it is “con­stantly im­prov­ing our com­mu­ni­ca­tions process to en­sure that these new reg­u­la­tions are bet­ter un­der­stood by all guests ... We are op­er­at­ing in one of the most com­plex, highly reg­u­lated in­dus­tries and are al­ways look­ing to bet­ter our com­mu­ni­ca­tion and cus­tomer ser­vice. We cat­e­gor­i­cally stand against racism of any kind.”

B.C. Lot­ter­ies Cor­po­ra­tion’s web­site says it re­quires re­port­ing of any cash buy-in of $10,000 or more, in­clud­ing the cus­tomer’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and a bank re­ceipt.

“All cash and bank draft/cer­ti­fied cheque buy-ins for $10,000 or more, in one or more trans­ac­tions within a 24-hour pe­riod, will re­quire a source of funds re­ceipt,” the Crown cor­po­ra­tion said. “The orig­i­nal re­ceipt must be from the same day of the trans­ac­tion and show the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, branch num­ber and ac­count num­ber. This in­for­ma­tion will be re­quired be­fore a cus­tomer is al­lowed to buy in.”

Af­ter At­tor­ney Gen­eral David Eby took of­fice last year, he saw footage of hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars — in elas­ticbound $20s — be­ing dumped from duf­fle bags at casino teller wick­ets. He re­sponded by order­ing a bomb­shell re­port ti­tled

Dirty Money by for­mer RCMP re­gional com­mis­sioner Peter Ger­man.

Com­pared to other ju­ris­dic­tions, B.C. had al­lowed money laun­der­ing and or­ga­nized crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity to flour­ish in its casi­nos, the re­port said, and the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment shut­tered an anti-money-laun­der­ing en­force­ment unit de­spite in­sid­ers’ warn­ings about the prob­lem.

As a re­sult, Eby passed a re­vamp of B.C.’S casino leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing mea­sures to force gam­ing busi­nesses to flag all trans­ac­tions over $10,000 to au­thor­i­ties and re­quire them to prove where they got the cash on the same day. Eby said the new laws have re­sulted in a “re­duc­tion of about 100 times from the peak of sus­pi­cious cash trans­ac­tions.” For that rea­son, Eby said, there can be no ex­cep­tions re­gard­ing dis­clo­sure.

GETTY IMAGES FOR COACHELLA

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Toronto rap­per, full name Aubrey Drake Gra­ham, just turned 32 on Oct. 24 and has a pen­chant for vis­it­ing casi­nos around the date, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous so­cial-me­dia posts.

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