Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, the company that owns the View Royal Casino initially planned an expansion project in 2007 but had to shelve those plans due to the global recession in 2008. The company recently announced that it had decided to go ahead with its $20 million expansion after the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) confirmed in July that the facility will continue to be the only gaming facility on the island.
The View Royal Casino will reveal its expansion plans during a View Royal council meeting on September 20. The expanded facility is expected to have an additional 350 electronic gaming machines, more dining options, and a 600 seat theatre. Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s vice president for stakeholder relations and responsible gaming, Chuck Keeling stated that the company was happy to proceed with a $20 million investment after being assured by the BCLC that a second gaming facility will not be developed on the island.
Keeling did not reveal specifics of the expansion project but did indicate the expansion would pretty much double the square footage and increase both gaming and non-gaming facilities at the View Royal Casino. A pub-styled restaurant and a dining buffet will also be added to the facility as Great Canadian Gaming is looking to target the ‘entertainment seeker’ in an effort to bring in more non-gaming customers.
Great Canadian Gaming has recently completed upgrades to two of its older casinos on the mainland and will follow a similar template to at the View Royal Casino. Keeling did not confirm if the company would bring some of the entertainment acts from the mainland to the new theatre but did say that the theatre will be used as a multi-purpose room and host live entertainment shows. There is also a possibility that the theatre will be used for community events in the future.
View Royal Mayor David Screech was one of the key individuals who was against having a second gaming facility in Greater Victoria and voiced his opposition to the BCLC. The Mayor stated that he was pleased to see that the expansion plans for the casino moving forward. In a statement, Mayor Screech said “Clearly this is going to make the View Royal Casino the premier gaming facility on the South Island. I think that is good news all around for View Royal and all the municipalities that benefit from their operations.”
The casino provides a significant amount of revenue for seven municipalities in Greater Victoria which include the five West Shore jurisdictions, along with Sooke and Esquimalt. The casino contributed over $4 million in 2015 which was shared between the municipalities. The View Royal Town received $1.84 million, the biggest allocation of funds since it was the host municipality.
Keeling stated that construction work is expected to begin during 2017 and the contractors would ensure that there was minimum disruption to the daily business of the View Royal Casino. The project is expected to be completed during the first half of 2018.