In Canada, the leaders of Saanich council have used their latest meeting to approve a list of five sites for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation to consider for a new Vancouver Island casino.
April saw the British Columbia Lottery Corporation announce that it had narrowed the home for a proposed casino to the communities of Saanich and Victoria after revealing that the area’s current gambling venue in View Royal was capturing only $35.2 million of an estimated $87.6 million in annual potential revenues.
Of the five sites now being offered by the council, plots in the neighborhoods of Uptown, Tillicum and Royal Oak were among those suggested by a staff-prepared report issued last week.
“In Richmond they put the casino earnings to the Olympics,” Saanich Councillor Fred Haynes told the Saanich News. “In Kelowna and other places, it goes to funding the police and various municipal costs, so there are benefits we need to consider.”
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation issued a request for expressions of interest in October of 2015 and wants any new Victoria-area casino to feature a gaming floor of at least 15,000 sq ft while offering a minimum of 300 to 400 slots as well as eight to ten table games. The regulator previously predicted $23.4 million to $35.2 million in annual revenues from any new Capital Regional District gambling facility with around $1.4 million to $1.9 million earmarked for the local municipality.
“We have to put our own beliefs about gambling aside and let the public decide what’s best for Saanich,” Saanich Councillor Vic Derman told the newspaper.
The Tillicum site for the latest British Columbia casino reportedly involves the redevelopment of a Playtime Bingo hall while Rob Wickson, President for the local Gorge Tillicum Community Association, stated that he was frustrated that the municipal government had not sent out a note informing communities about their decision.
“We need a discussion about what a casino is and how it impacts the neighborhood and we haven’t done that,” Wickson told the Saanich News. “If it has been done, it was a number of years ago and the memory has been lost.”