B.C.’s attorney general says he’s concerned that “at least one” gaming employee could be benefitting from improperly handing out gaming licences.
The issue came to the public’s attention last Monday, when the Canadian Border Security Agency conducted a raid at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.
Attorney General David Eby said at a press conference Tuesday that a whistleblower reached out to his office in October of last year with “concerns about what was happening at the racecourse.”
The concerns covered “a lot of different issues, including people working without permits.”
The province’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch found “there was merit” to the concerns but brought in the Canadian Border Security Agency because there was an “immigration element.”
— Kat Slepian (@katslepian) August 27, 2019
Eby said the CBSA took over the investigation in January and will be looking into immigration concerns as well as alleged breach of trust and fraud offences.
A gaming inspector at the racecourse has now been suspended with pay, Eby said, and all licences issued at Hastings Racecourse will be reviewed. Eby told reporters he assumed the gaming worker was employed at Hastings Racecourse, but was unsure.
“There are allegations involving more than just a single gaming worker, there are allegations involving a potential employer of individuals, people who are otherwise involved in gaming at Hastings,” Eby said.
Eby said he felt for the “incredibly vulnerable” workers caught up in the raids, some of whom have already headed home to Mexico.
“That’s one of the reasons I was so concerned about these allegations… that there may have been a provincial employee involved in exploiting these very vulnerable people,” he said.
“It’s incredibly disappointing if it proves to be true.”
Eby, who said he first raised concerns about the racecourse to the then-Liberal government before he was in office, said the issue at Hastings Racecourse was linked to the general money laundering issues in B.C.