The current money-laundering investigation of B.C casinos is taking a different dimension. With Rich Coleman expected to answer questions at the hearing, some reporters believe that a lot of truth would be discovered.
Rich Coleman was a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing Fort Langley-Aldergrove from 1996 to 2020. His presence at the hearing has been long anticipated.
Whether or not Rich Coleman would be found culpable is yet to be known. Nonetheless, Coleman testified before the money laundering commission on the 28th of April 2021.
The Cullen Commission mandate is to investigate the alleged huge amount of illicit cash that was spent through B.C. casinos.
Highlights of Rich Coleman’s Testimony at the Money Laundering Commission
During the hearing, Coleman informed the commission that the previous regulation and system regulated small local charities with very few casinos when he came on board. He also added that his ministry at the time created new legislation that professionalized the industry. Furthermore, he said that new casinos like Rick Rock were attracted to Richmond based on these new regulations.
When Brock Martland asked Coleman if the new changes were geared towards generating funds, Coleman said they were never discussing the need to make money. Martland is a Cullen Commission lawyer. Coleman further added that their major focus was to stop the operation of illegal slots at bars and pubs.
Coleman, at the hearing, said that the Illegal Gaming enforcement team (IGET) was disbanded in 2009 because they lost focus. Before the IGET was disbanded, there were reports that the IGET were investigating some cash-related issues. However, that same year, the government hired 168 officers and 10 Crown prosecutors to go after guns and gangs.
In all, Coleman provided answers for most of the questions. To the disappointment of most industry watchers, Coleman deflected questions about money laundering.
Who Is Rich Coleman?
Rich Coleman has always been part of the gambling industry in B.C. Apart from being a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing Fort Langley-Aldergrove from 1996 to 2020, Coleman was also a cabinet minister from 2001 to 2005.
Also, Rich Coleman was born in 1965 and had several jobs in B.C. At some point, he was a Deputy Premier of British Columbia. However, before Coleman entered into politics, he was a real estate manager. He is presently the leader of the opposition in British Columbia.
Is Rich Coleman’s Reputation at Stake?
From the body language of Coleman, he appeared confident at the hearing held on Wednesday. However, it is quite difficult to tell whether Coleman would be found guilty of the money laundering allegations under his watch.
Furthermore, considering how long Coleman was at the helm of affairs in the gambling industry in B.C., most people believe that he may be culpable too. Nonetheless, that is yet to be proven. The hearing is overseen by Austin Cullen, a B.C. Supreme Court judge.
Overview of the British Columbia Gambling Industry
Gambling at the casinos in B.C. is legal. However, to gamble at B.C. casinos, you must be 19 years. Initially, the B.C. casino industry consisted of small slot machines operated at pubs and bars. The BC Lottery Corporation is responsible for regulating all commercial gambling. Charitable gambling is licensed by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch.
But that’s not all; all gambling activities are governed by the Gaming Control Act. Aside from gambling at the casinos, you can also buy a lottery ticket or horse racing. Most of the games at B.C casinos are:
B.C. has five horse racing tracks. You can enjoy horse racing at any of the tracks in B.C. or onscreen in teletheatres in communities around the province. However, land-based casinos dominate most of the B.C gambling activities. Some of the popular casinos in B.C are:
Cascades Casino Resort
Casino of the Rockies
Frasers Down Racetrack and Casino
Lake City Casino
Hastings Park Racecourse
The Online Gambling in B.C.
Interestingly too, online gambling in B.C. is legal. Also, the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) regulates and oversees the activities of online casinos in B.C. Like playing at land-based casinos in B.C., players must be 19 years to bet online. Other facts about online casinos in B.C are:
Players are allowed to play at online casinos that are located in other jurisdictions. However, casinos located outside Canada must not be seen to be breaking any Canadian laws too. In other words, their conditions must conform to the gambling laws in Canada.
The provincial governments in Canada are responsible for the regulation of online casinos in Canada.
It doesn’t seem like the B.C. online casino laws are so rigid. Frankly, B.C. online casino laws are flexible indeed.