Loto-Québec Issues Statement On Organised Crime Allegations

In an article published in the Journal de Montréal, which allegedly connected a person to organised crime at its casinos, Loto-Québec issued a statement elaborating on some issues.

The Journal de Montréal published an article on Friday in which Lynne Roiter, the president of Loto-Québec, talked for the first time about the claims of organised crime at the Casino de Montréal.

Roiter, according to the Journal de Montréal, stated: “We are concerned because for us, it is safe and we take all the means at our disposal to avoid the presence of organised crime in the casinos.”

However because the casino is a public location, it was also stated that it is impossible to refuse entry, except to minors and others who interfere with activities such as usurious lenders or cheaters.

The president also suggested that individuals were evicted after the inquiry into the lenders at the casino.

According to Roiter, the internal investigation was not halted by the management, but the information was forwarded to the Montreal City Police Department. There will however be no follow-up.

The statement by Loto-Québec reads: “First of all, with respect to the individuals who have been mentioned, under the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information and Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, Loto-Québec was obliged to decline requests for an interview as it cannot divulge any personal information, nor report on the actions that may have been taken to deal with specific individuals who frequent public places like casinos and may therefore enrol in pre-established programs that are open to anyone aged 18 or older.”

Loto-Québec added in the statement that it ‘actively works’ with different stakeholders involved in the battle against money laundering and has adopted different procedures and steps.

It also emphasised that under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, Loto-Québec administers a compliance programme, with the statement adding: “The purpose of this program is to ensure that Loto-Québec, like all other reporting entities that the Act applies to, contributes to the fight against money laundering and complies with all regulatory requirements.”

Loto-Québec also noted that it is subject to many evaluations of its compliance programme and noted: “During its 2016 review, FINTRAC found no issues with the program and invited Loto-Québec to continue applying its program, which it did.

“This review is in addition to those carried out regularly by renowned external firms, including in 2015 and 2019.

“During the latter review, Loto-Québec requested that particular attention be paid to the situation in British Columbia, which is referred to in a report by Dr. Peter M. German with respect to the business reality of Loto-Québec. It was concluded that Loto-Québec already had mechanisms in place to manage the risks raised and comply with the regulatory framework.

“Furthermore, Loto-Québec has taken action relating to improvements suggested to reinforce these mechanisms.”

However the statement also claimed that a casino is a ‘public space’ that is open to any person 18 years of age or older, and that the company will not prohibit the entry of individuals or groups of individuals.

The statement concluded: “As in the case for access to the casino, any customer who wishes to join the Casino Privilèges program is free to do so.

“This rewards program rewards program modelled after programs offered elsewhere in all North American casinos. Members may receive rewards—not gifts—which are self-funded by their own restaurant and gaming activities.”