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 week, when the Canada Border Services Agency conducted a raid at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.
Attorney General David Eby said at a news conference Tuesday that a whistleblower reached out to his office last October with concerns about what was happening at the racecourse on multiple issues, including people working without permits.
The province’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch found the concerns had merit, and brought in the CBSA because of an “immigration element.”
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Eby said the CBSA took over the investigation in January, and will look into immigration concerns as well as alleged breach of trust and fraud offences as the case continues.
A gaming inspector at the racecourse has been suspended with pay, Eby said, and all licences issued at Hastings Racecourse will be reviewed. He said 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 he felt for the “incredibly vulnerable” workers caught up in the raids, some of whom have already gone 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.”
Eby, who said he first raised concerns about the racecourse with the Liberal government before he was elected, said the issue at Hastings Racecourse was linked to B.C.’s widespread money laundering problem.