If a huge casino expansion proposed in downtown Vancouver is shot down

If a huge casino expansion proposed in downtown Vancouver is shot down

Other cities may get more slots if Vancouver casino blocked

BCLC boss lists Surrey, Port Moody, Abbotsford among options

The B.C. Lottery Corp. may push to expand gambling in cities like Surrey, Port Moody or Abbotsford if a giant and controversial casino expansion in downtown Vancouver next to BC Place is rejected.CEO Michael Graydon stresses the corporation is committed to the 1,500-slot 150-table Edgewater casino plan but said other sites could be considered to tap an additional $300 million a year gamblers are believed capable of spending in the Lower Mainland.”At this point, if the casino is not approved, then the lease on the existing facility is up in 2013 and we’ll have to review our plans in regard to what options might lie ahead,” he told Black Press.”It may take Vancouver out of the equation,” Graydon said. “So we would certainly need to look to other municipalities in the GVRD and surrounding area as potential options.”That could mean expanding existing casinos or slot-equipped community gaming centres, or building new ones, he indicated.”Surrey has already approved a community gaming centre,” Graydon said, noting that will be under construction soon.”Port Moody has come to us looking for the opportunity to do some gaming,” he added. “We have been approached by municipalities like Abbotsford for expansion of gaming in that market potentially.”Graydon said none of the potential alternatives would present an opportunity as “unique” and “phenomenal” as the site flanked by the two Vancouver stadiums and next to two new hotels.Edgewater now earns close to $120 million a year and Graydon estimated the expanded casino’s take would jump to $230 to $270 million.Paragon Gaming, the proponent, would also pursue an aggressive marketing campaign to attract international players, he said, adding that could pull in another $100 million within a couple of years.Graydon rejected suggestions the new Vancouver casino could drain gamblers and revenue from existing Metro Vancouver casinos, reducing the share of profits that flow to the host cities.”We don’t anticipate very much cannibalization whatsoever,” he said. Great Canadian Gaming, which runs River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, has credited significant gains in patrons after the opening of the Canada Line, suggesting a vastly enhanced Edgewater might reverse some of that flow.”Possibly,” Graydon said. “There will probably be some River Rock customers and Grand Villa customers who decide they want to come and check it out.”But he said most of the gains should be from new gamblers already being attracted to the downtown entertainment district.If just five per cent of fans at a B.C. Lions game came next door to the casino after a game, he said, Edgewater would be near capacity.Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini denied his city has expressed any interest in opening a casino.A local referendum several years ago to test voters’ appetite found only 33 per cent supported the concept of a casino there, he said.”Never since then have we approached anybody or brought the question forward because it simply wouldn’t be accepted,” Trasolini said. “It’s not the activity our community sees with favourable eyes.”Trasolini said BCLC might have heard from a developer with an idea for Port Moody, but not the city.It’s far too early to speculate whether Surrey, which hosts Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino, would accept another casino, Mayor Dianne Watts said.”That whole process has to go through BCLC, they are the governing body,” Watts said. It’s her understanding the Lottery Corp. has no plans to add any more gambling in Surrey. “As far as I know, in Surrey, with my discussions with BCLC, they have no intentions of expanding,” she said.The City of Richmond earned $11.7 million in 2009 from its share of casino revenue at River Rock – more than any other local city got from gambling.Grand Villa host city Burnaby was close behind at $10.3 million, followed by Coquitlam (Boulevard Casino) at $8.8 million, Vancouver (Edgewater and Hastings Park) at $7.6 million, Langley (Cascades) at $6.7 million, New Westminster (Starlight) at $6.1 million and Surrey (Fraser Downs) at $2.9 million.BCLC reported a total of $1.3 billion in revenue from casinos in 2009, with River Rock generating $225 million.– with files from Kevin Diakiw

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