THE RAW FACTS ABOUT PARAGON GAMING’S PROPOSED EDGEWATER CASINO EXPANSION AT B.C. PLACE –
See our summary of facts and issues (PDF): Opposing Expansion of Edgewater Casino
Here is an earlier version of our Summary of Issues.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Connection with B.C. Place Stadium: direct link to stadium attendees, with a separated walkway directly to the casino from corporate suites.
Size of gambling space in the expanded Edgewater Casino: 2 football fields
Size of this casino compared to all casinos in western Canada: #1
Number of electronic slot machines in current Edgewater Casino: 520
Number of electronic slot machines in expanded Edgewater Casino: 1,500
Percentage of electronic slot revenues estimate to come from problem gamblers: 35%
Number of studies done in B.C. to determine the social, crime and financial costs of problem gamblers in this province: none
Cost of policing, addictions, suicides, fraud, courts related to problem gamblers using this casino: unknown
Estimated annual cost of a problem gambler from missed work, fraud, bankruptcies, receiverships, embezzlements: $13,200
ABOUT THE PROCESS
Date that B.C. Lottery Corporation chair Richard Turner buys shares in Paragon’s Alberta business: 2003
Date that Turner discloses that interest: 2005
Date that Turner resigns from BCLC board: late 2005
Date that Paragon Gaming purchases Edgewater Casino out of bankruptcy and installs Turner on the board of Paragon: summer 2006
Amount of donation by Richard Turner to B.C. Liberals while Paragon’s bid is awaiting a decision by Pavco in 2009: $50,000
Time between Pavco’s invitation to two short-listed companies responding to a request for expressions of interest in this $450-million project and its announcement of Paragon as the preferred proponent: less than 11 weeks
Normal time for big government projects to determine the best proponent, according to Partnerships B.C.: 12-16 months.
Number of minutes spent debating Edgewater’s expanded casino by Vancouver City Council: 0
ABOUT BROKEN PROMISES TO THE CITY OF VANCOUVER
Projected return of expanded Edgewater casino to City of Vancouver: $10 million in new revenue from gambling
Projected revenue to City of Vancouver from Edgewater’s original casino in 2004: $10-12-million in new revenues
Actual annual return of Edgewater Casino to City of Vancouver over the past two years: $6.3 million
Promise to arts groups and charities in 2004: increased funding
What charities got in 2010: 14% less than they got in 1995
What BC Lottery Corporation got in 2010: about three times as much revenue as 1995.
Promise to bingo players and their funding recipients in 2004: New Planet Bingo hall at Edgewater
Status of promise in 2011: Never delivered
ABOUT PARAGON GAMING
Number of slot machines in Paragon’s only Las Vegas operation, a sports bar: 15
Source of Paragon’s financing for Vancouver: unknown
Number of jobs promised by Paragon in 2010 bid for a casino in Missouri: 573
Number of jobs calculated by the Missouri Department of Economic Development for the same project: 280
Estimated annual revenue by Paragon in Missouri bid: $103.4 million
Estimated real new annual revenue calculated by the Missouri independent review of the same project: $21.7 million
Status of Paragon bids to build casinos in Sugar Creek, Missouri; Moncton, New Brunswick; Oxnard, California; and Ventura County, California: all failed
Answer of Unite Here, a union of 100,000 gaming workers across North America, to the question: “Is Paragon really the right company to take on this project?”: “no”
Disturbing event that occurred at Paragon’s Cree River Casino outside Edmonton in August 2010: customer murdered after a fight in the casino that spilled outside.
ABOUT CRIME AND GAMBLING IN B.C.
The two best places to meet gangsters in B.C., according to Fred Pinnock, former Commander, Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team: in jails and in casinos
Hours of shifts of loan sharks at River Rock Casino revealed in Oct. 2006 murder trial of loan shark Lily Li: 24/7
Percentage increase in gambling-related crime reported by Richmond RCMP after River Rock’s establishment: 400%
Percentage of money-laundering and terrorism financing cases discovered in 2008-9 that took place in casinos, according to FINTRAC: 20%
Date that RCMP’s Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team issued a report to the provincial government warning of “extreme vulnerability” of casino industry to organized crime–money laundering, infiltration, loan sharking: January, 2009
Date that B.C.’s Integrated Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team was disbanded by the provincial government: February, 2009
Date that BC Lottery Corporation was fined $670,000 by FINTRAC for repeated failure to monitor suspicious transactions, the first fine of its kind in Canada: Summer, 2010
Number of dollars involved in suspicious cash transactions at 2 casinos in Metro Vancouver, including $460k in 20’s in plastic bags, and a suitcase with $1.2 million in casino chips, revealed by CBC in 2010: $8 million.
Reaction of Insp. Baxter, head of RCMP Proceeds of Crime Unit, to these transactions: “suspicious”
Reaction to these transactions of Rich Coleman, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor-General, also in charge of raising revenues through gambling in B.C.: “not suspicious”
Number of sentences in Vancouver city staff’s 55-page report on the B.C. Place rezoning mentioning organized crime or money-laundering: 1
ABOUT THE ECONOMIC CASE
Amount listed in Deloitte report on this project as an annual capital payback from B.C. Lottery Corporation to Paragon: $16.9 million
Estimated increase in business over Edgewater’s current revenues: 180%
Percentage of North American casino customers who live within 45 minutes of the casino: 90%
Paragon’s estimate of the number of gamblers expected to come to Vancouver every day exclusively to gamble in the new casino and stay in its 648 new hotel rooms: 548.
Feb. 2011 comment by veteran hotel broker Angus Wilkinson on the demand for new hotels needed in the city: “This city doesn’t need another single hotel room.”
Amount that would have to be charged per night for a new hotel to survive financially in Vancouver, according to Wilkinson: $400/night
Average hotel room rate in Vancouver in 2010: $166/night