Wonder why the B.C. gambling regulator didn’t act a decade ago when some thought a tsunami of dirty money was beginning to swamp casinos?

The bureaucrat in charge of B.C.’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch considered it a ripple — tens of millions, perhaps, but still less than one per cent of the casinos’ annual $6 billion rake.

“In relation to the total buy-in, I did believe it to be small,” Doug Scott told the Cullen commission into money-laundering, referring to suspicious cash. Scott, a deputy minister, was manager of the enforcement branch from 2011 to 2013.

“It wasn’t the fact that it was small that made me think we didn’t need to take action,” he said, referring to his response to the potential threat. “What informed me … was (it was) small relative to the $6 billion or so.”

Even though he believed some of the suspicious cash was the proceeds of crime, the former Mountie didn’t think the RCMP cared — as there had been no enforcement and no prosecution for money laundering or proceeds of crime and ta dedicated enforcement unit had been disbanded in 2009.

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The head of the B.C. Lottery Corp. was alarmed and called it a “pivotal moment” when he learned for the first time that proceeds of crime were being used by casino gamblers, real-estate purchasers and luxury car buyers.

On getting the RCMP report in August 2015, BCLC CEO and president Jim Lightbody took immediate steps to ban those involved, ramp up a cash-conditions program and, later, banned players from using cash from money-services companies, even Wells Fargo.

“That was a pivotal moment for us,” he told the Inquiry into money laundering on Thursday.

“We had now heard from the RCMP, they had for the first time told us that there’s proceeds of crime being used by the money-services in Richmond. That alarmed me greatly.”

Lightbody insisted reports about money laundering and the use of proceeds of crime in B.C. casinos up until then were hearsay.

“There were suspicions and we had controls to deal with those risks. But this was an actual case of organized crime lending money to patrons who were going to casinos, and going and buying real estate and other things they were using the money-services business for and there was a potential tie-in with transnational terrorist financing. I was blown away.”

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