The B.C. Lottery Corp (BCLC) recently announced that it is considering the possibility of developing two new casinos in South of Fraser and North Shore. The BCLC has called upon Delta, Surrey and the Tsawwassen First Nation to see if they are interested in developing a community gaming centre or a new casino. They have until July 15 to send across their expressions of interest.

The BCLC has also rolled out a similar offer on the North Shore to the Tsleil Waututh Nation, the Squamish Nation, North Vancouver District, North Vancouver City and West Vancouver. As of now the only gaming that exists in the Delta and Surrey area is in the form of the Elements Casino in Cloverdale and Newton Bingo Country.

The BCLC has estimated that a new gaming facility South of Fraser could bring in between $25 to $50 million in overall revenue and $1.5 to $3 million of this revenue could be diverted to the local government based on the province’s policy of contributing ten percent. The North Shore has no gaming centre or casino and the BCLC estimates that a new facility will generate between $25 to $40 million in overall revenue and $1.5 to $2.2 million of this revenue can be diverted to the local community that hosts the facility.

Three years ago, the Surrey city council turned down a proposal to develop a casino-hotel that was estimated to cost around $100 million. The location chosen was South Surrey off Highway 99 as the facility was expected to draw gamblers who were heading across the south border to U.S. based casinos. Michael Graydon who was the BCLC CEO at that point of time decided to drop the idea of developing a casino in Surrey and pursued new sites in other municipalities. The BCLC believes things might have changed in Surrey as the locality has witnessed a significant growth in its population.

The BCLC has invited local governments to send in their proposals which will be reviewed on an equal opportunity basis. A number of municipal councils have already begun the process of putting together the pros and cons of developing a casino or gaming centre in their locality.

In a statement, Lois Jackson, Delta Mayor said “There are pluses and minuses to all the proposals that come forward. I’m certainly open to seeing what might be possible. I certainly wouldn’t say no at the first blush.” Jackson’s concerns revlove around traffic, policing and the overall impact on the local community.

The written expression of interest required by the local governments before July 15 does not signify a final commitment to the project. The expression of interest is expected to provide more information on their local policies, zoning requirements and regulations governing the gambling industry.