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British Columbia to establish independent gambling regulator


The British Columbia government has revealed plans to transition the powers of the Canadian province’s gambling regulator Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB), to a new body.

Through amendments to the province’s Gaming Control Act, the Independent Gambling Control Office (IGCO) will focus on regulatory policy matters related to gambling, horse racing and responsible gambling programs.

Set to be overseen by a general manager appointed by a fixed term, the IGCO will report publicly on its operations to the legislative assembly each year and have power to independently manage its public communications.

“The IGCO will have the mandate, authority and independence to ensure the overall integrity of gambling in British Columbia,” Attorney General David Eby explained.

“This change will make it far easier to keep dirty money out of our province. It is one of many concrete measures we are taking to disrupt money laundering, which has impacted British Columbians in so many ways.”

According to the government, this move will help to address the concerns raised in a recent money laundering report by Peter German, a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In the report, German called for regulatory gaming policy to separated from decisions about revenue generation.

At present, the GPEB sets and enforces regulatory gambling policy, while at the same time provides advice to the government on business matters related to the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, the province’s sole licensed gaming operator.

German’s report noted that this the dual responsibility could create conflicts of interest and impede anti-money laundering measures.

Based on German’s recommendations, the government also said that British Columbia will transform the way it regulates gambling by establishing a more flexible regulatory model that can adapt as technology transforms the sector.

In addition, the government said the province has started work on modernizing the Gaming Control Act, with the aim of introducing legislation in 2021 to bring the IGCO into force.

Confirmation of the regulatory changes comes after Scientific Games in October signed five-year extension to its digital sports betting and online gaming agreement with the BCLC.

Under the deal, which runs through to 2024, Scientific Games will provide a fully upgraded suite of digital sports betting and igaming solutions, including player account management services.