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.
• 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!