Surrey Turns Down Opportunity to Host New Casino

The Canadian city of Surrey recently got an offer from the British Columbia Lottery Corporation to host a new casino in their town. The new venue would either be a small gaming centre or an entirely new casino that would have a variety of slots and classic table games for the community to enjoy. They turned down the offer, refusing the BCLC’s request to build a casino in their region.

The Now newspaper reported that the major reason that the city has decided to turn away the BCLC is because of a gambling gaming policy that was established back in 2001. The policy states that there won’t be any new casinos allowed in the city unless it is part of a “cluster of facilities” in which it provides another service such as a hotel or meeting place. This policy basically restricts venues that are entirely gambling based from being setup in the city.

Mayor Linda Hepner cited that it would have to be an entire entertainment complex if it was going to be constructed within the city limits.

This isn’t the first gambling venue built within the city limits. Surrey is already host to the Elements Casino and Fraser Downs Racetrack. The BCLC had targeted Surrey as one of the three Western areas that a new casino would be setup. It had already asked for expressions of interest from local governments around the area including the cities of Delta and Tsawwassen First Nation. It had created an estimate that a new gaming facility would create an annual revenue of $38 million each year, with the government being handed about $2 million a year of those profits. This would have been a pretty big incentive to allow the casino to be constructed within Surrey, but city policy stands and so the decision was made to refuse the offer.

“If we are looking at entertaining the idea of another gaming facility, it would have to be a destination gaming facility,” Bruce Hayne, the Surrey councilor, had reported to the local newspaper. “The request for expressions of interest from the British Columbia Lottery Corporation are for a community gaming centre and, in my opinion, a community gaming centre sees money going out of the community where a destination-type facility with restaurants and other amenities would see a net flow of capital into the city.”

Surrey had received a very similar proposal three years ago. The BCLC wanted to setup another casino through the Gateway Casinos and Entertainment company that would have invested $77 million into building a brand new 190 room hotel and casino facility across 25 acres of land. The new casino would also have featured a 60,000 square foot gaming floor and many other amenities for gamers. It was expected to bring the city $2.3 million in revenue each year. While it did fall within the city policy of serving another purpose since it had a built-in hotel planned, the city still turned down this offer as well.