April saw the British Columbia Lottery Corporation narrow the possible home for a potential new Vancouver Island casino to the communities of Saanich and Victoria after revealing that the area’s current gambling venue in View Royal was capturing only $45 million of an estimated $112 million in annual potential revenues.
At their first meeting since May 16, Saanich council leaders declared that its own report identified sites in the areas of Royal Oak, Uptown and Tillicum with the latter involving a redevelopment of a Playtime Bingo hall.
“It’s important that people realize Saanich has not selected a site yet and we don’t even know if we’re going to get one,” Councillor Fred Haynes told the Saanich News. “There seems to be confusion that Uptown mall and the Tillicum mall have already been selected and that is not the case.”
Haynes reportedly told the newspaper that Saanich is in a state of flux over where any new Victoria-area casino should be located and that there are other locations meriting further consideration.
“It’s the northern edge of the Tillicum centre that is suggested and somewhere in the surrounding Uptown neighbourhood,” Haynes told the newspaper. “And if you look at Royal Oak, it’s becoming more of a corridor than a centre with the success of the Red Barn [on Vanalman Avenue] and new [Victoria Caledonian Brewery And Distillery] along Glanford Avenue coming in.”
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation issued a request for expressions of interest in October of 2015 and wants any new casino to feature a gaming floor of at least 15,000 sq ft and offering a minimum of 300 to 400 slots alongside eight to ten table games. The regulator previously predicted $30 million to $45 million in annual revenues from any new Capital Regional District gambling facility with around $1.8 million to $2.5 million going to the local municipality.
“There will be much debate and community engagement before we do anything,” Haynes told the newspaper.