The British Columbia Lottery Corporation plans to license a second casino for greater Victoria, arising protests from View Royal mayor.
Canada.- The British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s plan to license a second casino in the greater Victoria area, faces opposition from David Screech, mayor of the Victoria suburb of View Royal, who believes the area of 344,630 people is already at saturation point.
The Mayor of View Royal since 2014, which is home to the area’s only existing casino, declared that he does not believe an assertion from the BCLC that there is CAD45 million (US$35,7 million) in untapped gaming revenues in the region and has called on the regulator to cancel the process of awarding the proposed second license. Screech added that seven local communities including Sooke, Langford, View Royal, Colwood, Esquimalt and Highlands already benefit from the existing View Royal Casino, which is a 20-minute drive from downtown Victoria. He noted that the proposed licensing move had already led to the View Royal Casino cancelling investment plans that could have included a new theatre for the Westshore venue.
Finally, the mayor called upon the BCLC to release the market assessment it carried out before announcing its intention to license a second casino but this has been rebuffed by the regulator due to the report allegedly containing ‘proprietary’ information. “We would like to see the justification they are presenting that there is $45 million in untapped gaming revenues on the south island because we just simply don’t believe it,” Screech expressed. “I think they have a responsibility. They are a public corporation or a Crown corporation and they should be releasing that information to their stakeholders.”
On the other hand, the BCLC commented that it would be meeting with Screech in private to discuss his opposition while stating that local government consent is to be a necessary pre-condition regardless of which area is selected to host the new venue.