Grant Eve grew up surrounded by numbers. His father’s accounting company, Joseph Eve CPAs, had so much work that it was a natural for Grant to pitch in at an early age. A graduate of Montana State University-Bozeman, Eve spent three years after college working for the accounting firm Deloitte in Las Vegas.
But home is where the heart is, and Eve returned to Montana with a full knowledge of gaming to launch the firm’s gaming practice. Today, it’s almost all they do.
“We’re a niche firm that focuses on gaming work,” he says. “We do a fair amount of commercial work, but more tribal. And then tribal governments are a large part of our practice as well.”
Joseph Eve CPAs focuses on audits and compliance work, with a technology division that focuses on accounting systems implementation, which he says are cloud-based accounting solutions. The company is also called upon to set up accounting systems and AML/Title 31 compliance programs for new and existing casinos.
“This is not your typical CPA work,” he says. “You’re counting millions of dollars in a pleasant environment, for the most part. I like to tell our staff that one week you may be in San Diego, the next week you’ll be in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota. We get to see a lot of the country.”
For casinos, Eve says his firm recommends software that makes it easier and more efficient to follow the money.
“Our system is fully automatic,” he says. “It links up to your phones, your tablets and your computers. You can call up the bills you have to pay versus what money is expected to come in. It can all be done from your phone, and it ties into your audit paperwork. It’s so much more efficient than going through endless files. And it’s a great return on investment because it will save you thousands of hours of paperwork.”
Eve says casinos are considered like banks and other money service institutions by the government, and therefore they must meet the highest standards of financial probity. He points out that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the U.S. agency responsible for overseeing financial transactions, set up a special enforcement division in 2013 specifically designed to investigate casinos.
“In 2015,” he says, “there were more enforcement actions taken against casinos than any other industry. So we’re really seeing casinos take a look at the AML-compliance programs, risk assessment and independent testing. They want the processes streamlined and to be able to use technology for training. In addition, we’ve seen the IRS at more properties over the last two years than we ever did before.”
He points out that everyone is on tender hooks when it comes to compliance, and it affects all sorts of business relationships.
“Every casino has a bank,” he says. “And those banks have to comply with Title 31 regulations, as well. So if you’re a casino, you’re deemed a high-risk customer right from the start, so the banks want that risk assessment done. During the past year we’ve seen four banks that ended their relationships with casinos because that risk assessment wasn’t done correctly. You would think a casino would be a great client for a bank, but they don’t want to take the chance in some cases.”
Another government requirement is to know your customer (KYC), and understand where the money that he’s gambling with came from.
“Most casinos are doing a good job these days in determining the source of funds for the gambling budget of their big players,” he says. “They’re not being intrusive or rude, but making a good effort. Players are there to have a good time, but a casino needs to know if someone is up to no good or has a criminal history and is using the casino just to launder money.”