The city administration has reiterated its calls for the American and Australian embassies to remove protective barriers erected outside their premises that are blocking traffic in South and Central J - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

British Columbia is adequately managing the risks associated with the provinces growing gaming business, says a report released on Wednesday.

Criminals, cheats and errors are all risk threats to the gaming industry, says the report by B.C. Auditor General Wayne Strelioff. The industry employs about 7,200 people and revenues have shown huge increases, he said.

Casinos pulled in $893 million in revenues last year, more than doubling the $446 million take in 1999.

Strelioffs report, "Keeping the decks clean: managing gaming integrity risks in casinos," said control of the gaming includes ensuring errors, criminals and dishonest employees are kept to a minimum.

The B.C. Lottery Corporation and the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch in the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General are responsible for gaming integrity in B.C.s casinos.

An audit by Strelioffs department conducted between September 2004 and January 2005 examined honesty requirements expected of casino workers and the operating standards of the gaming machines.

The audit also examined if the government is getting its fair share of gaming revenue.

Three potentially major consequences can result if the government fails to keep a firm handle on casinos, Strelioff said.

"Unsavory elements, such as organized crime and dishonest individuals, may become involved in the industry, and that in turn can pose a threat to patrons as well as to honest participants in the industry," the report said. "If the problem grows large enough, patrons may lose confidence in the industry and stop visiting casinos."

The report made 13 recommendations to improve controls on the industry, including tighter surveillance.

The backgrounds of key lottery and gaming policy branch employees should be re-checked every three to five years.

Gaming equipment and who maintains, tests and services the equipment must be monitored, the report said.

Recently Guy Gentner, the Opposition NDPs gaming critic, slammed the lottery corporation for offering a free trip to Las Vegas to online ticket buyers as promoting gambling.

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