The recent decision by the B.C. Lottery Corporation to add a second casino in the Greater Victoria area was received with suspicion.
Canada.- The B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) decided to add a second casino in the Greater Victoria area. The funding was initially intended for Westshore Great Canadian Casino’s expansion project, but the plans were put on the hold shortly after BCLC announced its intentions of a second casino. The expansion would have added a theatre and additional stores to the existing casino facilities.
David Screech, mayor of Victoria’s suburb View Royale, is concerned about how the BCLC is justifying the addition of another gambling facility in the area. “The claims of CAD45 million (US$34.4 million) in gaming revenue are simply not true,” the mayor commented. Whilst the BCLC said the numbers are relied on its own research, the mayor says he simply doesn’t believe the math. Screech also pointed out that the BCLC is a publicly traded corporation that has a responsibility to its shareholders adding that the company’s report should be made available to the public immediately. Furthermore, and according to the mayor, the Minister of Finance ordered the BCLC to release the full market evaluation data over two weeks ago and they have yet to do so.
BCLC spokeswoman Laura Piva-Babcock affirmed that the corporation was not under any obligation to release the findings. “Our staff plans to meet with the mayor at a future date to discuss his concerns,” she said. Piva-Babcock went on saying that BCLC used a third-party expert that is experienced in making assessments for the gaming and hospitality industries. The spokeswoman expressed that the BCLC has attempted to be as transparent as possible. “We have tried to keep all five local governments in the loop during the process,” she added.
However, Screech said there simply are not enough gamblers around to justify the construction of the new casino and that he will continue to call on the BCLC to end its bid for a new casino, as he believes that having two mid-size casinos in such close proximity defeats the purpose.“Seven communities are already sharing the revenue from Great Canadian Casino,” he added. “Two casinos is one too many, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.”
At this point, all the communities are tentatively on board, so unless something drastic happens, the new casino is expected to open its doors next year.