Tag Archives: casinos

What is Vancouver Not Vegas up to now that the mega-casino has been defeated?

Thanks again to Vancouverites for all their support in this fight! We stood up and became active citizens in a non-partisan manner, and we prevailed! It was a good moment for Vancouver.

What will our organization do now?

Our coalition will continue. We think the BC public needs to know the whole mega-casino story, which has not yet been fully told.

In particular, we demand that BC charities be properly funded out of the billions already brought in annually by existing gambling in BC. Over many years, struggling community charities in this province were forced to advocate for gaming expansion in exchange for a promised percentage of the take. They received not one dollar of the millions earned in that expansion. They were betrayed, and all of BC suffers while massive handouts are given to the gambling industry.

We will:

•  Watch developments on the PavCo site at BC Place
•  Monitor the BC government’s push, via the BC Lottery Corp, to massively expand gambling in BC
•  Follow the unfolding story of the stadium roof and the way PavCo tied it to the casino plan, Paragon and the BCLC
•  Inform the public of the massive lucrative cash incentives handed over to the casino industry, an amount that far surpasses the amount given in other provinces
•  Call for a public accounting of the casino fight. How much did PavCo and BCLC – our public crown corporations – spend on their Edgewater mega-casino campaign, even before they had done public consultation? That was BC taxpayers’ money. How much was it? We demand to know.
•  Protest the massive gaming revenue cuts to charities and arts in this province. State-sponsored gambling in BC has expanded rapidly and its revenues have skyrocketed, and hundreds of millions have been spent on sweetheart industry deals and money-losing vanity mega-development projects. Meanwhile, charity and non-profit services at the heart of every BC community were gutted, separated from that enormous gambling revenue without explanation. To think that gambling was expanded in BC ostensibly for the purpose of supporting those charities! For too long, BC charities and non-profits have been pressured into advocating for expanded gambling with the promise of funding, only to see zero return for that advocacy, then be handed massive cuts. Not only is this insulting; see Pete McMartin’s comparison with how it’s done in Alberta if you really want to feel annoyed.

Enough is enough!

Please tell all your local MLA candidates that funding charities, non-profits, sports and arts is an election issue for you. You may also want to ask them to promise to clean up a gaming ministry and industry that are clearly out of control. BC is the only province fined —and fined heavily—for its tolerance of criminal transactions by FINTRAC, the federal gaming regulation authority. The gambling industry in this province is a disgrace. We need a full public discussion about gaming expansion, especially in light of the rapid extension of online gambling through websites and smartphones.

For the November municipal elections, please remind your candidates that you don’t want gaming expansion in your region!

How Vancouverites feel about gambling expansion: the real numbers


Graphic above is from the Justason report (see below)

67% of Vancouverites believe casino expansion will bring significant social problems.

Once again, consistent with all other polls of the Vancouver public, the Ipsos poll released March 24 shows a clear and substantial majority of decided respondents OPPOSE the expansion of Edgewater Casino. Although the margin of error was large and the sample size was very small at 250 Vancouver residents, this is the third poll since February demonstrating a clear lead by expansion opponents over supporters. No poll of Vancouver residents has ever shown public support for the casino expansion, and no poll has shown support within 10 percentage points of opposition.

Below is a summary of the polling data we are aware of. Please note that the figures below reflect DECIDED respondents.  We have allocated undecideds proportionately, so the numbers are different from what you will see on the survey results themselves:

Robbins Sce Research March 14, 2011:
Oppose casino expansion:  58.5%
Support expansion:  41.5%
= 17% gap  in our favour
Margin of error: 4.37% 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence
Sample size 503 Vancouver registered voters who voted in the last election.
Phone poll: Vancouver City poll – Casino, Legal Aid, BC Place Roof, Citizens Initiative and Recall, Party popularity 

Justason Market Intelligence  February, 2011
Oppose expansion: 62.5%
Support expansion:  37.5%
= 25% gap in our favour
Margin of error 4.9% 19 times out of 20
Sample size of 662 Vancouver residents.
See the phone and online poll (note: pdf) 

Blue Thorn Research and Analysis Group Report, commissioned by the Province of British Columbia  July, 2007
Here is a 196 page study commissioned by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch from 2007, reviewing impact and social acceptance of gambling and casinos in 4 metro Vancouver municipalities, including Vancouver:    http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/gaming/reports/docs/rpt-rg-impact-study-final.pdf (pdf)
Harm of gambling outweighs benefit:   63.9%
Edgewater is beneficial to community:  15.1%
Page 7 of the report (Executive Summary), or on the pdf p. 11/196:   Sample size was 1000, and INCLUDED THE OPTION OF CANTONESE, MANDARIN, OR PUNJABI RESPONSES.  This survey was weighted to balance for age, gender, and ethnicity. 

From the Executive Summary:

Vancouver has the most negative attitude toward gambling of the four communities. Their negative general attitude toward gambling has significantly increased. In 2004, 56.6% of people believed the harm of gambling outweighed benefits, increasing to 57.4% in 2005, and 63.9% in 2006. The community’s negative attitude toward the Edgewater Casino also became significantly worse. In 2004 only 26.0% believed it was likely to be somewhat or very beneficial to the community. This decreased to 24.4% in 2005 and only 15.1% in 2006.

Expanded Gambling is Bad for Local Businesses

The following article was written by US Senator Jamie Eldridge. The article cites some reputable studies from reputable economist professor Earl Grinols.  We have no evidence as yet that gambling improves the economic climate for neighbouring businesses.

“People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they lose customer dollars to the casinos.”

- Donald Trump, casino owner[1]

Casinos will hurt local restaurants, hotels and entertainment businesses. Money that would otherwise be spent at locally-owned small businesses will instead be dumped down predatory slot machines owned by out-of-state corporations. Massachusetts dollars are shipped far away to wealthy owners and investors, and little of that money is being reinvested in the local community.

Casinos and slots won’t help locally-owned tourism businesses. Casinos will divert tourists and residents away from local historic, cultural, and natural attractions from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, hurting businesses that rely on those visitors. To the extent that people do travel to Massachusetts for a resort-style casino, they’ll stay at a casino hotel, eat at casino restaurants, and go to casino-sponsored entertainment events. Casinos drain money from the local economy.

When discretionary income is spent on gambling, local businesses suffer. Consumers have less money to spend on clothing, electronics, furniture, automobiles, or any other locally-sold product. A study on the costs and benefits of casinos found that for every $1000 in increased casino revenue, businesses up to 30 miles away lost $243. [2]

Job growth in the casino industry will lead to job cuts elsewhere. As the Boston Business Journal notes, the claim that casinos will create 20,000 new jobs “is bogus because the diversion of billions of dollars into one sector is destined to cause job losses in other sectors”.[3]

Expanded gambling hurts worker productivity. Local businesses can anticipate increased personnel costs due to increased job absenteeism and declining productivity of workers.[4]

Expanding gambling is not an effective economic development strategy. It drains money from local economies, hurting local businesses. As the Wall Street Journal notes, “a growing body of research and experience suggests the odds are not stacked in the state’s favor”[5] when it comes to economic development. There are better strategies for creating jobs and promoting economic growth in the Commonwealth that don’t come with the significant downsides that casinos bring.

[1] “The Jackpot State.” The Miami-Herald. March 27, 1994

[2] Grinols, Earl L. Gambling in America Costs & Benefits. Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pg. 77.

[3] “It’s all about the money.” Boston Business Journal. December 21, 2007

[4] Grinols, Earl L. and David B. Mustard. “Business Profitability versus Social Profitability: Evaluating Industries with Externalities, the Case of Casinos.” Managerial and Decision Economics. 2001. Pg. 151.

[5] Whitehouse, Mark. “Bad Odds.” Wall Street Journal. June 11, 2007.