Date: 01.02.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

Fallsview Casino Resort Faces Fine Over Anti-Money Laundering Oversight

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has imposed a $70,000 penalty on MGE Niagara Entertainment Inc., the operator of Fallsview Casino Resort, for an alleged lapse in anti-money laundering protocols.

This action comes after a patron was observed bringing a substantial amount of cash in a grocery bag to the casino, raising concerns about the establishment’s compliance with regulatory standards.

Incident Details and Regulatory Response

In April, surveillance at Fallsview Casino captured a patron introducing $80,000 in strapped $100 bills from a reusable grocery bag to the casino floor.

The incident, which saw the patron exchanging the cash for chips and leaving without wagering, prompted a review by the AGCO, leading to the conclusion that Fallsview Casino had inadequately addressed the risks associated with money laundering.

Fallsview Casino’s Position and Appeal Plans

MGE Niagara Entertainment Inc. has expressed its disagreement with the AGCO’s findings, stating in an email to the media, “As a responsible gaming operator, Fallsview Casino Resort is dedicated to identifying and preventing unlawful activities.” The company has announced its intention to appeal the decision, emphasizing its commitment to upholding high standards of regulatory compliance and responsible gaming practices.

Calvin Chrustie, a former senior RCMP officer and expert in transnational organized crime, commented on the complexities of enforcing anti-money laundering measures within the gaming industry. While not directly referring to the Fallsview case, Chrustie highlighted the challenges in identifying definitive indicators of illicit activities and the critical role of due diligence in such scenarios.

The incident at Fallsview Casino underscores a broader issue of money laundering within Canada’s gaming sector. Despite improvements in certain regions like British Columbia, experts like Chrustie suggest that provinces, including Ontario, may need to enhance their anti-money laundering efforts to effectively counter this pervasive issue.

Our Comment on the Fallsview Casino Fine

The fine levied against Fallsview Casino Resort by the AGCO serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of vigilant anti-money laundering practices within the gaming industry.

It highlights the need for casinos and gaming establishments to not only implement robust compliance measures but also to ensure that these protocols are actively and effectively enforced. As the industry continues to navigate the complexities of regulatory compliance, this case underscores the ongoing dialogue between operators, regulators, and experts to safeguard the integrity of gaming activities against the risks of illicit financial transactions.