This graph gives a sense of the low tourism value of casinos as compared to arts and culture activities in cities. This is a well known fact, yet British Columbia has failed to develop the type of competent cultural economic plan or tourism economic plan that we see in other provinces. BC’s wholesale slashing of arts investment (unique in Canada) and its destruction of Tourism BC indicate to us that the government lacks a plan. The reliance upon gambling expansion is not just lazy, it’s economically unwise. It’s likely that given the combination of global troubles and online gambling the bottom will fall out of casino establishment gambling profits. In addition, cultural tourists generally come from a higher economic bracket, are more educated, and spend much more money at their destination.
Given these facts, it ought to become more obvious to Vancouver and the whole of BC why arts organizations, who were illegally made ineligible for BC gaming grants in 2009, banded together to fight the Edgewater mega-casino proposed for downtown Vancouver. Why are the tourism and arts sectors not being adequately consulted on a strategy and adequately subsidized as all other sectors are? They could bring billions into the Vancouver and BC economies. Why does the BC government refuse to understand, the way Ontario and Quebec do, that arts are a key factor in an economic plan? Both have state gambling (yet far better regulated than in BC) but they offset this with financially smart stimulus to arts and culture. It’s time for BC to get it together.
One must also add that arts and culture are part of a green economy, and bring no downside with them. With gambling however, there are increasingly strong stats that show its costs outweighing its profits, possibly 3 to 1. We heard this from many gambling experts during the hearings at Vancouver City Hall.
For more information on the economic benefits of arts and culture investment and cultural tourism, see post at Stop BC Arts Cuts.
Posted in Edgewater Casino, Gaming grant cuts
Tagged arts, arts cuts, cultural economic development, cultural plan, Edgewater Casino, gaming cuts, gaming grants, inelible, Toronto, tourism, Vancouver
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!
Vancouver Not Vegas says the Gaming Grant Review is a welcome opportunity to address the expanding crisis in BC’s non-profit sector.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Vancouver Not Vegas welcomes Premier Clark’s announcement of the provincial gaming review yesterday. “We hope that as a result of this initiative, charities and non-profits will never again have to shill for the gambling industry in British Columbia,” says VNV co-founder Sandy Garossino.
Charities and the communities they serve are entitled to a clear, fair and independent grant process, and not to be pitted against one another in a race for gambling revenues. Eligibility criteria and adjudication should meet broad standards of procedural fairness, and be free of interference by the political interests of any party.
Without public notice, debate or scrutiny, the provincial government instituted rapid gambling expansion as a silent pillar of tax policy, to the point that gambling revenues now exceed corporate taxes in BC. Unaware of the larger picture or the extent of the impact on communities, the charitable sector lent critical support to this strategy. It should have understood the bargain that it made and how hungry government would become for the non-profit share of revenues it controlled. Due to severe cuts to gaming grants, hundreds of charities find themselves on the brink of collapse. Even Vancouver’s venerable Children’s Festival found itself on life support in Spring 2011. British Columbians and their families see insufficient benefit from soaring gambling revenues.
“The system is broken. We must devise a better one for the public and for the charitable and non-profit sector that serves them,” says Lindsay Brown, VNV co-founder.
We look to Premier Clark to demonstrate the government’s good faith by granting emergency interim funding to sustain any organizations close to failure while we await the outcome of the review.
To see discussion of this issue, follow our Twitter (@vancityVegas) and also the Twitter hashtag #BCgaming.
Below: an example of the charities who benefit (or in many cases have benefited in the past but no longer do) from local gambling establishments.
Posted in Gaming grant cuts
Tagged arts, BC, BC Liberals, British Columbia, charities, Christy Clark, gaming cuts, gaming expansion, Gaming Grant Review, gaming grants, Memorandum of Agreement, non-profits, renegotiation, revenue sharing, Skip Triplett, sports
Pete McMartin of the Vancouver Sun has been working on a superb series of articles about the BC Lottery Corporation, the planned Edgewater mega-casino, and the way the BC government has been leaving charities out to dry—the very charities used by the BC government to justify its massive gaming expansion.
We will keep updating this list of articles by McMartin, so check back regularly.
Charities reeling from steady erosion of gaming grants
Huge gaming grant cuts don’t apply to BC Lottery Corp offices
How B.C. Lotteries came to pay $400 million to casinos
Is it time to take a step back from the gambling table?
Advice to B.C. charities: Move to Alberta
Posted in Edgewater Casino
Tagged Alberta, BC, BC Lottery Corporation, BCACG, BCLC, British Columbia, charities, Edgewater Casino, gambling, gaming expansion, gaming grants, Pete McMartin, Sandy Garossino, Vancouver Sun