Patron used $59K in grocery bag to buy chips

AGCO imposes $52K penalty on Fallsview Casino Resort operator for AML compliance failures

Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Reading time 1:29 min

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued a monetary penalty totaling CAD 70,000 ($51,900) to MGE Niagara Entertainment, the registered operator overseeing Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

This penalty comes in response to the operator's failure to meet established requirements aimed at minimizing the risk of unlawful activities, including potential money laundering, at the gaming site.

In April 2023, a patron attended the Salon Privé at Fallsview Casino Resort and presented CAD 80,000 ($59,300) in strapped CAD 100 bills from a reusable grocery bag. Surveillance showed that once the money was counted and confirmed, the patron left the table with casino chips without playing at that time.

Despite having previously identified the player as 'high risk,' the casino failed to notify the AGCO and on-site police of this transaction as required. The casino operator also failed to take any meaningful steps to ascertain and corroborate the patron's source of funds, as is required by anti-money laundering rules set out in the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.

"The AGCO is committed to protecting the public interest and public safety and remains vigilant in its efforts to guard against potential money laundering at Ontario’s gaming sites. Casino operators are important front-line partners in this effort, and the AGCO holds all operators to rigorous standards when it comes to the prevention of unlawful activity," said Dr. Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, AGCO.

The prevention of unlawful activities at Ontario’s gaming sites is a key priority for the AGCO, notes the commission. The AGCO, in collaboration with the Ontario Provincial Police Bureau, monitors gaming sites in the province to ensure compliance with established standards.

For their part, casino operators are required to take steps to effectively identify and prevent criminal activity from occurring on their gaming sites. Among the regulatory requirements casino operators must meet, the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming (the Standards) require operators to report suspicious behaviors and to validate a patron’s source of funds when presented with significant amounts of bulk cash.

As per AGCO regulations, a registered gaming operator served with an Order of Monetary Penalty has the right to appeal the Registrar’s action to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), an adjudicative body independent of AGCO and part of Tribunals Ontario.

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