The minister responsible for British Columbia Lotteries Corp. doesn't think there's a "ton of criminal activity" being conducted at the province's casinos. In an exclusive interview with Public Eye, the former commander of British Columbia's integrated illegal gaming enforcement team Fred Pinnock also said BC Lotteries security and the government's gaming inspectors don't appear to be having much of an impact on those activities. But, speaking with reporters today, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman said, "I totally disagree with him, actually."
"In every casino in B.C. we have the highest security - both visual and people on site. If you ever go into a casino, you'll find that we spend millions of dollars on all kinds of cameras and monitoring and stuff like that. We have people on site working 24/7. We also a very, very sophisticated team of people that do the investigations on gaming in B.C. that actually integrate with police. So I just disagree with what his assessment was."
As for Mr. Pinnock's team, Minister Coleman said "I was the one that actually thought it would work initially and I didn't. The reason being it was never fully-staffed and people were transferring in and out on a pretty regular basis to the point where it was ineffective. So I felt it was better we had dedicated officers in the (ministry's gaming policy and enforcement branch) - which we do."
"Most of them are senior former police officers with very good investigative abilities who do our gaming investigations in B.C," he continued. "And we integrate them back with the organized crime teams and those sort of people. So I'm comfortable with the model we have."
And that's why he "brought (the integrated illegal enforcement team) back in."
Earlier, Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson Rob Vermeulen stated the decision to shutdown the team was made by its consultative board.