Minister calls for casino crackdown after CTV probe
Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca
Published Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:03PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:42AM PDT
B.C.'s solicitor general is demanding a review of ID policies at casinos after a CTV News hidden camera investigation showed minors walking with ease into a number of Lower Mainland casinos.
And on top of promising to be more vigilant in catching minors entering government-licensed casinos, the BC Lottery Corporation has promised to conduct random ID checks of people who appear to be adults.
"This is completely unacceptable," Solicitor General Shirley Bond told CTV News. "As soon as it was brought to my attention by CTV, we contacted BCLC and we're taking action immediately to make sure there are tighter security provisions in place."
Bond said she has convened a meeting between BCLC head Michael Graydon and the CEOs of casinos to review security policies.
In a memo made public to CTV News, Graydon reminded CEOs of the casinos that it is illegal to allow minors to enter their premises.
"Service providers are encouraged to request government-issued identification to verify a patron's age for anyone attempting to enter the casino appearing under the age of 25," Graydon wrote.
"Furthermore, BCLC is requesting that service provider security staff conduct random checks of patron identification as individuals attempt to enter the facility," he wrote.
Graydon also said BCLC will be conducting a review of its policies to "support your operations in identifying and intercepting any minors who may be attempting to gain access to BCLC facilities," he said.
But those methods stopped short of asking everyone for ID at the door, which is done in casinos in Amsterdam. Such a scheme would help identify not only minors, but also problem gamblers and criminals, and would be relatively cheap to implement.
"I think everyone should get ID'd for casinos and once you're in, if there's suspicion, you should be ID'd again," said Sharon, the mother of one of the minors who was allowed in to gamble.
Studies have shown that 35 per cent of income from government-licensed casinos comes from problem gamblers.
Bond suggested that the casinos should re-examine their entrances to make sure that they allow staff to ID patrons more effectively. But she stopped short of asking BCLC to ID everyone.
Howard Blank of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation said his casinos don't want to ID everyone because they want to make the gaming experience "seamless."
"Asking someone who's 40 to 50 years old, we have an issue there because we're inconveniencing them," he said.
Watch CTV News at Six for a full report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee