Tag Archives: expansion

Massachussetts Senator Sue Tucker demolishes pro-casino arguments in 2009 hearing

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXRh9nOrG_Q]

Testimony of Senator Susan Tucker at the Oct 2009 Hearings on Expanded Gambling in Massachusetts.

All of Senator Tucker’s arguments hold as true for Vancouver as they do for cities in Massachussetts. Tucker has worked on this issue for years. She was recently featured on CBS’ news program on gambling expansion in the US, which is also worth watching.

Excerpts:

“[The casino industry] doesn’t work because it costs too much. The proponents throw out the $200 million number.

Start subtracting!

We need cost benefit numbers! We need to know how much the new bureaucracy is going to cost to enforce the new laws that our own Attorney General said we must have before we even consider casinos. Criminal activity laws, wire-tapping, money-laundering, new laws. Who’s going to be hired to audit and oversee the gambling? It’s a very expensive proposition. And the words and the money that gets thrown around here about what we’re losing to Connecticut, let me tell you, if every dollar that went down a Connecticut slot machine went down a Massachussetts slot machine, and we taxed them at the same percent, about 25%, Massachussetts would get a grand total of about $93 million. But the ten percent hit to the lottery [that casinos will bring] is $80 million dollars. It will cost us at least $30 million to set up a new bureaucracy – you’ve already spent the money!

The proponents do not have the numbers.

And we haven’t even addressed the addiction problem.

… [T]he problem is that a lot of people promoting this don’t understand what the new slot machines are, how they are designed, and what the industry does. Basically the machines are designed to see every customer as a potential addict. These machines are built with virtual real mapping to make people think they almost won, and to put people in a zone, similar to a drug zone, and this has been testified to by psychiatrists, by neurobiologists, by people who understand the nature of addiction. I object to the state partnering with an industry that makes its profit on addiction. I don’t think that is the job of the commonwealth of Massachussetts. We have choices about where we grow jobs in Massachussetts.

You think you have control over this industry. You don’t. Whatever you put in that bill to sell it to your colleagues, the deal will change within two or three years. Now how do I know this? Because it happens everywhere. The casinos come in; “Oh we won’t be predatory, we’ll put debt limits on so people can’t gamble more than $500 an hour.” Within two years those debt limits are gone. Why? “Oh, we can’t compete!” They negotiate for a lower tax rate than they come in promising, they change all the practices that you might try to put in to make them less predatory, they fight them, you can’t control it, you can’t control where they’re located. So I suggest to you that this is very, very dangerous, and bad timing in this economy to even consider this proposal.”

Is the public, not the casino, in fact paying for BC Place Stadium roof?


Press release today from the NDP. Some good questions were asked. Will Rich Coleman and the BC Liberals answer? Why is so much casino revenue being funneled right back to the private casino owners?

Spencer Chandra Herbert
Official Opposition Critic for Tourism, Culture, and the Arts
MLA, Vancouver West End
www.spencerchandraherbert.ca

B.C. NDP CAUCUS
MEDIA RELEASE
Jan. 9, 2011

B.C. LIBERALS MUST ANSWER ON SUBSIDIES FOR PROPOSED EDGEWATER CASINO EXPANSION – NDP

VANCOUVER — As residents of Vancouver prepare to formally weigh in on the proposed Edgewater casino expansion, the B.C. Liberal government must let the public know whether the casino is going to end up being subsidized by taxpayers even while gaming grants for community groups are being cut, the B.C. New Democrats say.

“The people of B.C. have every right to question whether the top priority for gaming revenue should be subsidizing private casino companies’ car parks and show lounges even while the B.C. Liberals are slashing funds for small charities that help seniors in need, youth engage through the arts, people learn to read, and adults with disabilities connect with their communities,” said New Democrat tourism and arts critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.

“British Columbians were told the proposed Edgewater casino expansion would pay for the $563 million B.C. Place roof project, but we now have to wonder if the public will actually be paying for the casino.The B.C. Liberals must tell the people of B.C. how much government revenue the proposed expanded Edgewater casino is eligible for, and justify why public money should be used to subsidize well-established private companies that are generating hundreds of millions in profits every year.”

Casinos can receive a subsidy amounting to three per cent of their net win in the form of a Facility Development Commission, which can be used for capital projects. An additional one-time subsidy, an Accelerated Facility Development Commission, can amount to an additional two per cent of a casino’s net win. Together, these subsidies have offset around 40 per cent of the capital costs of casino development in B.C. in recent years.

The proposed new Edgewater casino would have double the number of slot machines and table games compared to the current casino, and, if approved by Vancouver council, would be the largest casino in B.C. The expanded Edgewater would pay an expected $6 million a year in lease payments to the province.

While it is not known how much subsidies in FDCs and AFDCs the proposed casino would receive, Chandra Herbert pointed out that since the province estimates the new Edgewater will bring in $130 million per year in revenue, it can be estimated that the expanded casino could receive between $3.5 million and $6.5 million per year in subsidies.

“Casinos were welcomed into B.C. with the understanding that they would generate revenues for non-profits and charities. But under the B.C. Liberals, that social contract has been broken. Gaming grants are actually lower now than they were in the 1990s, even though revenues from gaming have increased dramatically.” said Chandra Herbert.

According to figures supplied to the Vancouver Sun by the B.C. Lottery Commission, casino operators received $40 million in FDCs in 2009-10, up from $16.5 million in 2001-02.

The B.C. New Democrats are advocating for open and transparent governance, including the separation of gaming policy and gaming enforcement in separate ministries, and a full restoration of gaming grants to charities.

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Contact: Sara Goldvine 250-208-3560

Dear Vancouver, do you really want a mega-casino in your downtown core?

Buck and winnie (and chip)

The current Edgewater Casino is quietly slated for  a location move and then a massive expansion in our downtown core, right near the BC Place Stadium. This could happen within a matter of weeks. It will put the casino adjacent to all of the high-end dense living of False Creek and Yaletown, not to mention adjacent to the Downtown Eastside, already plagued by crime and addictions.

Massive casinos, which are generally not found in the downtown cores of other North American cities, other than Vegas, attract endless undesirable social problems: crime, loan sharks, addiction. They are not socially palatable. Nor will this mega-casino complex be architecturally palatable – it will be designed and built by Vegas. It’s not even going out to architectural competition – its design has already been proposed and it’s hideous. We have already had an ugly, expensive and impractical stadium roof foisted upon us by the BC Liberals government; now we will be subjected to this massive gambling expansion unless we speak up. The province has bullied Vancouver enough. City Hall, start standing up to the bullies! What cards are they holding that you fold so easily?

Write to the mayor and city council! Tell them how you feel about this scheme which is very quickly and very quietly being pushed through City Hall by the BC provincial government.

Also note: gambling expansion has been pushed throughout BC with the excuse that it pays for our crucial non-profit and charity sectors. Despite laws legislating this, it has never been done. Money from the casinos is being used to fill in the gap left by the government’s own economic policies.

Please be heard!

Don’t let them gamble Vancouver’s liveability away.

Thank you.