ThinkCity: “It’s Time to Hold ‘Em, Mayor”

Below is an excerpt from a November 17, 2010 article by Neil Monckton of ThinkCity, a thoughtful Vancouver citizen-participation group that focuses on Vancouver’s civic and development issues. Click at bottom to read the whole article at ThinkCity:

“Can city council move all in on the province’s much-expanded gambling plans for Vancouver? Last March, the province announced a new “destination casino” in one of the city’s most rapidly growing areas. In the coming weeks, citizens and their council will finally have an opportunity to table their demands for future benefits. And they had better, because so far the BC Liberal government has not offered Vancouver much in return for accepting this controversial development.

It is controversial for three chief reasons.

First, the city may get a far lower share of the gambling revenues than promised by the province in past agreements.

While the revenue-sharing agreement has yet to be finalized, the city’s take is expected to be much lower than it would have been ten years ago. In 1999, the then-NDP government promised a 16.7 per cent share of gaming profits for those municipalities which allowed destination-style casinos. However, Solicitor General Rich Coleman recently dismissed the BC Association for Charitable Gaming claim for a 33 per cent share of the new casino’s gaming revenue, as promised in a related 1999 agreement. If the BC Liberals are renouncing an eleven-year-old profit-sharing agreement with the province’s charitable sector, why would they honour a similar deal made with civic governments?

Some civic watchers believe Vancouver may see its share cut to less than 10 per cent. With $130-million in annual revenues expected for the province this means the city may be shorted by as much as $10-million a year.

Second, this massive new casino will certainly have some negative impacts on the area. With triple the capacity of the existing Edgewater site, this monster gambling house is 61 per cent larger than BC’s biggest casino, Richmond’s River Rock. It will feature 150 tables and up to 1,500 slot machines – nearly 15 per cent of all the slots in the province…”

Click here to read more.

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