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BCLC investigating after bin full of intact Burnaby casino playing cards found

Last Updated Mar 8, 2019 at 11:59 am PDT

A bin full of unpunched, intact used casino cards was discovered in bins owned by White Rock company ShredWise. Casino security staff believed the cards had been shredded on site. (Lauren Boothby/NEWS 1130)

The BCLC is investigating after NEWS 1130 discovered hundreds of unpunched playing cards outside the casino

The Attorney General's office says it finds the allegations concerning

A whistleblower has told NEWS 1130 it is concerned with how company ShredWise handles confidential information

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include statements from Shredwise

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — The province’s casino regulator is investigating a Burnaby casino’s handling of used playing cards that should have been destroyed by a Lower Mainland shredding company.

NEWS 1130 discovered a bin owned by White Rock-based ShredWise full nearly to the brim with unpunched, intact cards belonging to Grand Villa Casino. The bins were being stored in a truck parking lot in Surrey and the lot was not patrolled by security.

This bin was just one of 17 found to have contained personal, private and confidential documents and records that were not destroyed.

BCLC now says they are looking into the situation.

RELATED: White Rock shredding company investigated after leaving confidential medical, financial records exposed

“These allegations are very concerning to BCLC and we are actively investigating,” reads a statement from a BCLC spokesperson.

The regulator says private-sector service providers with their own gambling facilities have to follow BCLC standards, which include the secure destruction of playing cards.

“Service providers are responsible for ensuring cards are securely punched or destroyed at end of use. BCLC conducts periodic reviews of service providers to confirm compliance with requirements,” reads the statement.

Two security personnel seemed shocked to hear the cards had been found intact, because both said they had observed the cards being deposited into the shredding truck just outside the casino, and believed they had been destroyed.

According to a whistleblower with ShredWise, this makes sense. They said casino security guards would follow ShredWise employees to the truck and watch the documents be deposited inside, but the truck’s shredding technology cannot handle destroying the wax-based cards. Many have to be put through the machine multiple times.

Casino responds

Grand Villa Casino is owned by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. The company is refusing an interview, but submitted a statement:

“We have investigated the observations you reported to us further and have confirmed that the issue was the fault of a third-party supplier who did not comply with the terms of our agreement with them. This is troubling to us and we have taken swift and appropriate action to ensure this does not happen again.”

RELATED: Langley woman who paid White Rock company to destroy cheques shocked to learn they were not

Meanwhile, the office of the Attorney General’s office says it is concerned about the allegations and is interested in following the outcome of the BCLC investigation. We have reached out to David Eby for comment.

Shredding company claims procedures were not followed

The CEO of Shredwise tells NEWS 1130 this is the first time he’s seen this happen with the company.

“I have never seen an issue like this before,” Tino Fluckiger wrote in an email.

However, NEWS 1130 has been told the contrary — that these issues have been raised before.

Fluckiger says the company has strict procedures in place.

“No unshredded documents or other materials — whatever they might be — are ever removed from a shred-truck vault and stored externally by our staff.”

He says in the event of a technical issue with a shredder on the truck, documents are stored in a locked vault on the truck. “The truck then returns to our yard where documents are removed and shredded by another Shredwise truck.”

Fluckiger says the bins NEWS 1130 saw “are used only for customer collection purposes, never for storage. In looking at this instance, it appears our system was not followed.”

He adds the company is investigating the incident.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include statements from Shredwise