The recent decision by the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) to add a second casino in the Greater Victoria area is not setting well with some.
Mayor David Screech of Victoria suburb View Royale, says he has major concerns about how the BCLC is justifying the addition of another
While the BCLC says it relied on its own research, the mayor says he simply doesn’t believe the math. “The claims of $45 million in gaming revenue is simply not true.” Screech also pointed out that the BCLC is a publicly traded corporation that has a responsibility to its shareholders.
Although BCLC reps insist that the report is proprietary, Screech says it should be made available to the public immediately.
The mayor also says that 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 said in an interview with All Points West 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.” Piva-Babcock went on to say that she hopes the sit down will put the mayor’s fears to rest.
According to the original plans, funding was to go to Westshore’s Great Canadian Casino. The expansion would have added a theater and additional stores. The plans were put on the back burner shortly after BCLC announced its intentions of a second casino.
Despite the BCLC’s assurances of more revenue, the Victoria suburb is still crying foul.
Screech says there simply aren’t enough gamblers around to justify the building of the new casino. “Seven communities are already sharing the revenue from Great Canadian Casino,” says Screech.
Piva-Babcock told All Points West host Megan Thomas that the BCLC used a third-party expert that is experienced in making assessments for the gaming and hospitality industries. Demographics and traffic patterns are just some of what factors into the assessment, according to Piva-Babcock.
Screech still isn’t convinced.
He still wholeheartedly believes that having two mid-size casinos in such close proximity defeats the purpose.
Piva-Babcock insists 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.”
Screech says he will continue to call on the BCLC to end its bid for a new casino. “Two casinos is one too many, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.”
As of now, the path to the casino has been virtually cleared. All of the communities are tentatively on board. Unless something drastic happens, it should be up and running by early next year.