NDP leader Adrian Dix

NDP leader Adrian Dix

NDP would review but not freeze casino growth

Dix won't promise to halt gambling expansion as B.C. nears 12,000 slots

BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix won’t pledge to block new casinos or expansions but says he expects the BC Lottery Corp. to rethink its current approach in the wake of last month’s defeat of a proposed casino in South Surrey.

Asked Thursday if an NDP government would freeze further gambling expansion, Dix criticized the BC Liberal government’s “petulant” response to Surrey city council’s decision Jan. 19 to reject a gaming licence for the proposed South Surrey Entertainment Centre.

“I don’t know if a freeze is what’s required,” Dix said at a stop in Surrey. “But clearly the lottery corporation, after their difficulties in both Vancouver and Surrey, has to reflect on the issue of casino expansion at this time.”

A proposal to convert Vancouver’s Edgewater Casino into a giant casino at BC Place stadium was defeated by Vancouver council more than a year ago in another contentious battle between gambling opponents and supporters.

“We’ve now had two major setbacks where the lottery corporation was at odds with where the community was going,” Dix said. “We clearly have to review what’s going on.”

BCLC’s president Michael Graydon and gaming minister Rich Coleman both ruled out any other Surrey casino location after the rejection but said they’d consider other nearby municipalities, including First Nations land, for a similar casino.

The NDP launched B.C.’s casino gambling expansion in the late 1990s, but it really took off when the Liberals took power in 2001 after running on a platform that promised to stop the expansion of gambling.

Back then, there were 2,400 slot machines province-wide. Now there are close to 12,000 – a five-fold increase over the last dozen years that has included the conversion of old-style bingo halls into “community gaming centres” with slot machines.

Casinos now generate more than $1.5 billion a year for the provincial government.

“There’s no question the overall dependence of government on lottery revenues has grown,” Dix said.

In an interview last week, Coleman denied he did anything wrong in contacting Surrey councillors in between public-hearing sessions prior to the vote and said he wouldn’t do anything differently.

“I don’t know how we could have done anything any differently,” he said, adding the province believed Surrey council wanted the site off Highway 99 near the Peace Arch border crossing.

“They changed their mind and we move on – it’s pretty simple.”

Just Posted

A Milbert’s tortoiseshell rests on a flower. Nature Chilliwack says butterfly gardens for every stage of life are possible using plants native to the area. (Photo/Nature Chilliwack)
Nature Chilliwack offers butterfly garden tips

Gardens can be created using local plants, the nature club says

(Photo/Mary-Jean Coyle)
Community Camera for June 11, 2021

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read