British Columbia Responds Indirectly to Drake Allegations

The attorney general in British Columbia has clarified that new anti-money laundering rules will be applied in a universal manner at the Canadian province’s casinos.

AG David Eby did not directly mention Drake in his statement, but it was clear that he was referring to the rapper’s claim that he was racially profiled when he was prevented from playing at one of the province’s casinos.

Eby said he was unable to comment on private issues that happen in casinos, but maintained that gamblers need to comply with the rules about disclosing the source of their cash deposits that exceed $10,000.

Drake’s allegations

The Toronto-born rapper posted on Instagram to express his dissatisfaction as to how he was treated at the casino in Vancouver’s luxury Parq Hotel.

He alleged that on November 2 he was subjected to racial profiling and had not been allowed to gamble there. He said that it was the “worst run business” he had ever seen. The Parq Hotel’s casino is one of a few located in the Vancouver area.

He said that the casino’s decision not to let him gamble was not justified as he had met all of the verification requirements needed in order to play there. This is the basis of his claim that he was being profiled, rather than some rules being enforced against him.

The casino subsequently issued two statements on November 4. The first said: “Parq Vancouver is sorry to hear about this experience and takes these matters very seriously. We are required to adhere to strict regulations with respect to gaming in British Columbia.

“We are actively investigating this matter and have made several efforts to reach out to the customer and his team to discuss the issue. We are committed to having a productive conversation to resolve this issue.”

This was followed by a second statement made five hours after the first one and which dealt with Drake’s claim of racial profiling. The statement outlined how the casino’s clients “may be aware of a situation at our casino last night. On behalf of Parq Vancouver we would like to apologize for the experience our customer had. We are operating in one of the most complex, highly regulated industries and are always looking to better our communication and customer service.

“We are constantly improving our communications process to ensure that these new regulations are better understood by all guests. We categorically stand against racism of any kind. We are committed to providing a safe, secure and enjoyable experience for all.”

There has been a backlash from Drake fans, who have been leaving negative reviews in their droves on various review sites. The rapper is known for his gambling exploits. He recently lost more than $200,000 when gambling in Atlantic City.

What next?

The rules for checking the source of sums of cash greater than $10,000 in British Columbia’s casinos is relatively new. The approach has been successful so far, with a significant drop in suspicious transactions taking place in recent times.

The attorney general said there has been “a reduction of about 100 times from what the peak levels of these suspicious transactions were”.

Casinos are also seeing more bank drafts and other non-cash forms of payment. This makes it a lot easier to source and track where money is coming from, eliminating a lot of the issues concerning money laundering.

In June 2018, Eby published a report titled “Dirty Money” that outlined how organized crime groups had been using casinos in British Columbia to launder money. This report was commissioned after the River Rock Casino in Richmond accepted $13.5m worth of $20 bills during a single month in 2015.

The gaming industry in the region was brought into disrepute as a result of these indications of extensive money laundering.

Thus, the procedures for checking the origins of large sums of cash makes sense. The ongoing debate as to whether or not Drake had been able to legitimately prove the source of his cash, is likely to rumble on for some time.

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