Government is taking action against money laundering by transitioning the Province’s gambling regulator and providing it with greater independence to set and enforce regulatory gambling policy.
Through amendments to the Gaming Control Act, the Province’s gambling regulator, the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), will be transitioned to the new independent gambling control office (IGCO). The IGCO will focus exclusively on regulatory policy matters related to gambling, horse racing and responsible-gambling programs.
This change addresses concerns raised in Peter German’s Dirty Money report, which highlighted that decisions about regulatory gambling policy should be made separately from decisions about revenue generation. Currently, GPEB sets and enforces regulatory gambling policy, while also providing advice to government on British Columbia Lottery Corporation business matters. In his report, German warned the dual responsibility may create conflicts of interest and impede anti-money laundering measures.
“The IGCO will have the mandate, authority and independence to ensure the overall integrity of gambling in B.C.,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “This change will make it far easier to keep dirty money out of our province. It is one of many concrete measures we are taking to disrupt money laundering, which has impacted British Columbians in so many ways.”
Based on German’s recommendations, B.C. will also transform the way in which it regulates gambling by establishing a more flexible regulatory model that can adapt as advancing technology transforms the sector.
The IGCO will be required to report publicly on its operations to the legislative assembly each year and will be given the autonomy to independently manage its public communications. The IGCO will be overseen by a general manager appointed by cabinet for a fixed term.
The Province has started the work required to modernize the Gaming Control Act and aims to introduce legislation in spring 2021 that will bring the IGCO into force.