Tag Archives: Edgewater Casino

Please help support Adriane Carr’s Motion B4 asking for removal of Michael Graydon & for a restrictive covenant

We are asking our supporters to come to City Hall on WEDNESDAY July 23 [NOTE: this is a change from Tuesday July 22] to support a motion being put forward to Vancouver City Council by CouncILLOR Adriane Carr.

[Update late Tues: Adriane’s motion got a seconder – George Affleck. This means the motion will be presented tomorrow, Wednesday, sometime before noon most likely. The committee meeting starts at 9:30 and Adriane’s motion is 4th on the list. But we’ll update you regularly! Please plan on coming!]

WITH YOUR HELP we can force Michael Graydon’s ouster as CEO of Paragon Gaming.
Michael Graydon BCLC
AND
 
We can get Council to impose a restrictive covenant banning gambling expansion on Edgewater’s new site.
Councillor Adriane Carr will table a motion on Tuesday, July 22, asking that Vancouver Council request the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch to direct his removal, AND for an anti-expansion restrictive covenant to be placed on the BC Place lands as a Development Permit condition. The motion will then be put forward to Wednesday for discussion.
WE NEED YOU TO COME TO COUNCIL AND SPEAK TO THIS MOTION (if speakers are allowed, and we’ll know that on Tuesday) ON WEDNESDAY MORNING at 9:30.
Please register by CALLING 311 before 5 pm on Monday, or by REGISTERING IN PERSON on Tuesday by 9:15.
Say you want to speak to Councillor Carr’s motion B4.
Tell City Council that Michael Graydon and Paragon Gaming have to pay for their misconduct. We need government with the guts to say no to special treatment for insiders.
Thanks so much!
More background here:

Report: Michael Graydon found to be in conflict of interest

Michael Graydon BCLC

Vancouver Not Vegas is available for media interviews in response to the BC government’s report on conflict of interest in the case of Michael Graydon’s move from the BC Lottery Corp to Paragon Gaming.

We will be issuing a full statement tomorrow, July 11.

TEXT MEDIA REQUESTS TO: 778-231-5230

Please see the story in the Vancouver Sun:  Former BC Lottery Corporation CEO in conflict when he took private job, review finds

Brazen Conflict of Interest by Former CEO Exposes Feeble Governance at BCLC

Michael Graydon BCLC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, Feb. 7, 2014

Brazen Conflict of Interest by Former CEO Exposes Feeble Governance at BCLC

The resignation of Michael Graydon as CEO of BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) to assume the role of president of PV Hospitality ULC in which Paragon Gaming Corporation is a partner raises serious conflict of interest and BCLC governance concerns says Vancouver Not Vegas.

“It’s a grave concern that the BCLC, which oversees an industry requiring the highest standard of integrity and transparency, would permit a departure of this kind from expected ethical standards”, says founding member Ian Pitfield.

“The Federal Government applies post-employment restrictions to public office holders.  Why should the Province not insist on the same restrictions for senior employees of Crown Corporations?” Pitfield asks.

The Vancouver Not Vegas coalition calls for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding this move, and asks the BC government to answer the following questions regarding this and other governance issues within BCLC (BC Lottery Corp):

  • When did Michael Graydon begin employment discussions with Paragon, a company of which he was the regulator?
  • What assurances or commitments did he make to Paragon, his future employer, while he was in discussions with them concerning compensation, terms, etc?
  • What knowledge did the BCLC have of employment discussions between Graydon and Paragon, and did it approve it?
  • Why, after BCLC chair Richard Turner bought shares in Paragon Gaming in 2004, did the BCLC not institute a firewall policy preventing employment or financial relationships between senior executives. board members and regulated corporations?
  • Senior management at BCLC are in possession of significant confidential financial information pertaining to all gambling operators in BC. It’s unthinkable that it has failed to safeguard that trust by preventing conflicting employment agreements for senior executives.

It is unthinkable that BCLC has failed to safeguard the trust by prohibiting key employees from assuming employment with regulated gaming companies for a period of two or three years following retirement or resignation. But today’s news is only one chapter in a history of governance breakdowns.

Documented lapses in governance at BCLC include:

  • Unprecedented $700K FINTRAC fine in 2010
  • Documented loan-sharking, money-laundering in casinos
  • BCLC Chair Richard Turner’s acquisition of shares in Paragon in 2004, and subsequent move to become director.

Today’s revelation, combined with a repeated pattern of inept governance points to a rudderless corporation unable to exercise basic control over its key operations.

– 30 –

Media contacts:

Sandy Garossino
Please TEXT queries to:
778-231-5230

Ian Pitfield
604-828-5494

http://vancouvernotvegas.ca
See also this original story.

Message from Sandy, Lindsay, Ian & VNV to supporters following the Development Board hearing

Vancouver DPB

Message from Sandy, Lindsay, Ian & VNV to supporters following the Development Board hearing on December 16, 2013

Many among us felt enormous disappointment at the conditional approval of the preliminary development permit on December 16.

The applicants have approval to proceed contingent upon developing a harm reduction plan in consultation with the Vancouver Coastal Health chief medical officer, with reference to the Kendall report, Lower the Stakes.

The down-side is that a massive casino floor has been approved, despite very strong community objection.  This is extremely troubling. In November 2011 Council re-zoned the BC Place site to permit a casino. For reasons that are obscure, rezoning was permitted for the square footage requested in the original proposal–or 114,000 square feet–notwithstanding that Council rejected additional slot machines.

Industry standard for a purpose-built casino is roughly 52 square feet per slot machine, or about 31,000 square feet for Edgewater, so re-zoning to permit 114,000 sq. ft was an unusual step.

In any event, Paragon applied for and got approval for a 71,000 sf casino floor space–40,000 sq ft larger than necessary.

Given the cost of land and cost of construction in downtown Vancouver, it’s not credible that an experienced commercial real estate partner would commit half a billion dollars to a project that’s more than 100% overbuilt.

In our view someone with authority has committed to these investors that more slots WILL be permitted, and that is most likely the provincial government, which always has the power to amend the legislation requiring municipal approval for additional slots.

Since we assume the provincial government will pursue more slots, while Vancouver City Council is in principal steadfastly opposed (and 2014 is an election year), our focus is firmly on those aspects of this development which fall under exclusive municipal jurisdiction.

We are encouraged by the mayor’s statement on the morning following the DPB hearing that:

Given (the)  public concerns…which were raised at today’s Development Permit Board meeting, I will ask City staff to identify further measures to prevent any expansion of gambling in the future on this site, including  amendments to by-laws or the Northeast False Creek Official Development Plan that will restrict the allowable casino floor space to the existing proposal.

This measure opens the door for us to take a more aggressive position to curtail this development.  The Kendall Report, which chronicles an alarming increase in gambling addiction following the widespread introduction of slots in BC, has indeed been a game-changer for this project.

Our focus now shifts to two issues: pressing this Council to follow through with its commitment to permanently prevent expansion of the casino, and supporting strong and robust conclusions by the Vancouver Public Health Officer respecting harm reduction measures for the casino.

We will seek, among other steps:

•  A covenant by the applicant not to increase slots and tables as a condition of its final development permit
•  Restriction of operating hours
•  Implementation of Kendall recommendations respecting alcohol service and ATMs
•  Public health review of casino operations and data gathering methods

The Mayor’s statement is a tribute to your persuasive arguments. Your dedication, commitment, energy and support keep alive the possibility that this project will never materialize in the form sought by the applicants.

We’ll be in touch as events unfold.

Sandy Garossino, Lindsay Brown, Ian Pitfield

vancouver-not-vegas

VNV asks CoV’s Development Permit Board to return Edgewater Casino proposal to City Council for further review

Photo via CBC

On December 17, 2013, the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board (DPB) will review a development permit application for a new Edgewater Casino at BC Place.

On October, 17, the BC government’s Kendall Report, conducted by BC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Perry Kendall, demonstrated that gambling addiction is very widespread and that it has doubled over the past five years.

In light of the Kendall report, Vancouver Not Vegas and its supporters make the following requests of the City of Vancouver and its DPB:

_______________________________________________________

Vancouver Not Vegas asks the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board return the Edgewater Casino proposal to City Council for further review.

In October, BC Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall issued a report warning that governments must do more to curb severe gambling addiction in BC.

In 2011 Vancouver City Council unanimously rejected the expansion of gambling licenses for Edgewater Casino, and approved the relocation of the casino to BC Place.

On December 17, the proposed Edgewater Casino goes to the Development Permit Board for approval. If it passes there, construction can commence before Christmas.

No further public hearings will be held.

In light of the Kendall recommendations and Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy, Vancouver Not Vegas calls for the Edgewater application be returned to City Council for comprehensive public review and implementation of a harm reduction strategy for the casino.

_______________________________________________________

Vancouver DPB

The Kendall Report: gambling addiction in BC has doubled in 5 years

Photo via CBC
Photo via CBC

[Please sign our petition here, after reading! Thank you.]

CBC: “The number of severely-addicted gamblers in British Columbia has more than doubled while the provincial government has taken in billions in gaming revenue, according to a new report from the Provincial Health Officer.

The concerning figures have prompted B.C. medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall to call for more government investment in gambling prevention and treatment programs.

The report, released Wednesday, analyzed data collected between 2002 and 2007. It showed that even though gambling activities have generally declined, the number of people with a severe gambling problem has risen from 13,000 to 31,000.”

The Kendall Report requires an immediate response from provincial and municipal governments. The report was published over six weeks ago, and yet there has been no reaction from the BC government or the City of Vancouver. Meanwhile, we are heading for a development permit hearing on December 17 for the massive casino building – at its original massive size, ripe for future expansion – in downtown Vancouver adjoining BC Place Stadium. One of the largest demographics for rising gambling addiction is young males. Why has there been no reaction to the Kendall Report?

Vancouver Not Vegas Submission to the Development Permit Board

vancouver-not-vegas

Vancouver Not Vegas Submission to the Development Permit Board
July 15, 2013

Vancouver Not Vegas is a coalition of citizens and community groups advocating for a healthy urban environment, and concerned about the proliferation of casinos in Vancouver.

Paragon Gaming, the BC Lottery Corporation and PavCo have a history of failing to disclose material facts and circumstances to the public, including the status of signed agreements and the existence of independent revenue projections that conflict with inflated numbers provided to City officials and the public.

Our position respecting today’s application is to take no position, but to state on the record that

1.  Vancouver Not Vegas objects to the lack of transparency and public disclosure surrounding future plans for the Edgewater Casino. Under the Gaming Control Act, the public is entitled to full notice of all material circumstances surrounding proposed casinos, yet the public knows nothing at all about what will transpire;

2.  To comply with the Gaming Control legislation, it will be necessary for Paragon Gaming’s relocation to BC Place to return to City Council for public hearings. To date:

•  No plans or drawings for the site have been publicly disclosed,
•  No net revenue projections nor host city revenue impact has been disclosed or independently verified;
•  There has been no disclosure of public subsidies in the form of lease forgiveness, construction subsidies or environmental remediation to be born by the BC taxpayer.

3.  As gaming revenues in the new location will not substantially increase, but construction and operation costs will, it is probable that the proposed relocation of Edgewater Casino will result in decreased revenue to the City and provincial government, unless it is significantly altered.

4.  It is reported that Paragon is in discussions with other gaming providers. What is the subject of those discussions—ie, is Paragon looking to sell its interest, or is it in discussions to expand its gaming capacity in some form of amalgamation or joint venture that materially alters the proposed development?

Before the City exercises its discretion in favour of the applicant’s request for an extension of its gambling permit, we ask for Paragon to publicly disclose the nature of its discussions with other gaming interests, and to commit to limiting its intended licenses to those already approved for the site, i.e. 500 slot machines and 65 gaming tables.

Media contact:
Sandy Garossino
Please text queries to:
778-231-5230

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver Not Vegas Issues Court Challenge to PavCo & Paragon Casino Plan

Edgewater Casino Relocation Plan - What does it look like? We have no idea.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Vancouver Not Vegas Issues Court Challenge to PavCo and Paragon BC Place Casino Plan

Details of lease agreement unclear for both City and Province

May 2, 2013, Vancouver:  Vancouver Not Vegas announced today that it will proceed with the action it filed in November 2011 in the BC Supreme Court challenging City Council’s approval of relocation of the Edgewater Casino to BC Place.

The decision to proceed with the action results from PavCo’s announcement that it has signed an agreement to lease with Paragon Gaming Corporation allowing construction of a casino on the BC Place site. There has been no public disclosure or public hearing concerning the terms of the Edgewater Casino proposal contrary to the BC Gaming Control Act Regulation.

Sandy Garossino, co-founder of Vancouver Not Vegas, says “this project has all the earmarks of a financial fiasco. Incredibly, the public knows even less about the Edgewater Casino proposal today than it did in 2010. Once again PavCo has announced a done deal to the public, only this time without even the courtesy of telling us what we are committed to.”

PavCo was going to lease the land to Paragon for $6 million per year.  In September 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that PavCo expects to reduce the rent to $3 million a year.  The current proposal does not reflect the highest and best use of the site.  Nor does it provide any indication of any return to the City.

Coalition spokesman, Ian Pitfield, says “no disclosure has ever been made to the public detailing what’s proposed now, nor has any community input been sought as required by the Gaming Act and the Regulation. Nobody knows what’s planned for the site, whether the City will lose money on it, how much public money will go into building it, or whether and how much the taxpayer will subsidize leases on public land.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the action.

For background on the original petition, click here.

Media contact:
Ian Pitfield at 604-828-5494
ihp@pitfield.com

– 30 –

Vancouver Not Vegas says new casino relocation plan should go to public hearing

Bulletin: vancouver not vegas says new casino plan should go to public hearing
November 28, 2011

Vancouver Not Vegas group calls on Vancouver City Council to delay approving the casino relocation bylaw pending a court ruling on the bylaw validity and full public disclosure of the relocated casino plans.

[See Council agenda for Tuesday November 29
http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20111129/regu20111129ag.htm]

Sandy Garossino says “Paragon Gaming made it clear from the outset that the relocation and expansion applicationwas an all-or-nothing deal and there was no business case for a relocation alone. Under the Gaming Control Act, a relocation alone is effectively a new application which requires public consultation of the new plan”.

Lindsay Brown says “The public has been told we will have a mega-casino in the downtown residential core, but Council has effectively left the door wide open for the developer to build one by approving a relocation without requiring an amended plan to be submitted. We still have an approval in principle of 2 NFL football fields of casino floor, and tens of millions of dollars in public subsidy with no public disclosure and public hearing.”

“Council consistently treated this application as a re-zoning matter, and has not recognized the requirements of provincial legislation governing decisions around gaming licenses,” adds retired justice Ian Pitfield, a coalition supporter and retired BC Supreme Court judge. “The community was not provided with any particulars of the relocation proposal. It was only told about an expansion.”

Please see our previous press release regarding our legal petition to quash the relocation clause:
http://vancouvernotvegas.ca/2011/11/vancouver-not-vegas-petition-to-quash-casino-relocation-motion/

Media contacts:
Sandy Garossino 778-231-5230
Lindsay Brown 604-313-7744
Ian Pitfield 604-828-5494

Vancouver Not Vegas! Co-founder Launches Petition to Halt Casino Move to BC Place

Vancouver Not Vegas Co-Founder Lindsay Brown has filled a petition in BC Supreme Court seeking to overturn the decision by Vancouver City Council approving the relocation of Edgewater Casino to BC Place Stadium.

“To this day the people of Vancouver still have no idea of what is being planned for the casino development on the BC Place Stadium site, yet Council has essentially written Paragon and PavCo a blank cheque by approving the relocation,” says Vancouver Not Vegas co-founder Lindsay Brown.” Once again plans are being made behind closed doors at City Hall, apparently to be dropped on the public when it’s too late for us to have a voice, but this time Council has granted its approval in advance. The BC Place site is a Vancouver landmark affecting thousands of residents, and we don’t know what’s happening there. We need to be part of the discussion this time around – if there is a “this time around.” ”

“Council consistently treated this application as a re-zoning matter, and has not recognized the requirements of provincial legislation governing decisions around gaming licenses,” adds retired justice Ian Pitfield, a coalition supporter. “The community was not provided with any particulars of the relocation proposal. It was only told about an expansion.”

During the public hearings in the spring of 2011, Paragon Gaming, the owners of Edgewater Casino, strongly stated that relocation without an expansion of their license was not an acceptable solution, and offered no amended plan for the public or Council to review. Council voted to approve only the relocation of the Edgewater Casino against the applicant’s wishes and without public consultation respecting any revisions. The City has not complied with the Gaming Control Act and Regulations.

________________________________

Note: Letters sent from Ian Pitfield to City Hall and to the Minister responsible for Gaming beginning in late May 2011 have remained unanswered or have elicited only uninformative replies.

Vancouver Not Vegas now awaits a response from City Council regarding our petition. We are very pleased by Vision Vancouver/COPE’s promise of a moratorium on gaming expansion in Vancouver, however the question of PavCo’s intentions for the BC Place Stadium site remains urgent.