Alcohol And Gaming Commission Of Ontario Launches Anti-Money Laundering Task Force To Monitor Cash Transactions

Written By Robyn McNeil on July 21, 2021 - Last Updated on July 20, 2021

As Ontario casinos start to reopen, cash transactions will face extra scrutiny.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has formed an inter-agency task force to monitor cash transactions. The move comes a year after FINTRAC tabled a report showing a noticeable change in casino-related transactions post-COVID-19 lockdowns. 

The task force includes representatives from AGCO, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG). Together they will closely watch cash transactions at reopened casinos and act on concerns as necessary and appropriate.

Integrity is critical

Ensuring the integrity of the Ontario casino and gaming industry is necessary, says Derek Ramm, a director of anti-money laundering at AGCO

“The inter-agency task force is a great example of the cooperation between provincial agencies to disrupt potential criminal activity,” said Ramm.  “I’m very pleased to be working with colleagues from the AGCO, OPP and OLG on this project.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered an unprecedented situation where unusual transaction activities may be legitimate. This irregularity could provide cover for some to attempt to profit from the current situation through money laundering. The pandemic’s disruption of traditional money laundering methods—particularly those that depend on injecting cash into cash-intensive businesses is a particular worry. Criminal actors must seek alternative ways to clean their dirty money cautions FINTRACK, Canada’s financial intelligence agency.

The effort is a positive action, said Alison Jevons, Chief Superintendent of the Ontario Provincial Police Investigation and Enforcement Bureau. 

“This is an excellent joint initiative that will augment the ongoing efforts between provincial agencies,” Jevons said. “This inter-agency task force will continue to strengthen the already close working relationships between the OPP, AGCO and OLG.”

Ian Messenger, another director of anti-money laundering at AGCO, agrees. 

“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 AGCO and OPP to proactively identify suspected illicit cash and ensure that appropriate actions are taken.”

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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax with an awesome teen, a mischievous cat, and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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