Tag Archives: Vancouver Not Vegas!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver Not Vegas Calls for Reinstatement of Specialized Casino Police Unit

Photo via CBC
The Vancouver Not Vegas coalition calls for Premier Clark to reinstate the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team (IIGET), following revelations that suspicious transactions have more than doubled in casinos since 2011.

In 2009 the specialized casino police unit IIGET was disbanded weeks after it warned then Solicitor-General Rich Coleman that organized crime had infiltrated the gambling industry and was actively laundering money and loan sharking in casinos (see Appendix A).

By 2011 cash monitoring had deteriorated so severely that the BC Lottery Corporation was fined almost $700,000 by the federal agency FINTRAC for failure to control suspicious transactions at casinos.

“This is a complete systemic collapse of governance,” says Sandy Garossino, spokesperson for Vancouver Not Vegas. “There’s been no specialized policing presence in casinos for 5 years and organized crime has been brazenly active the whole time. BCLC has completely failed to control casino criminal activity.”

Vancouver Not Vegas renews its calls for former BCLC CEO Michael Graydon to be deemed unsuitable for employment with Paragon Gaming.  “Did Graydon know about this report when he jumped without warning from BCLC?” asks Garossino. “For at least 5 years Graydon knew organized crime was active in BC casinos, and completely failed to rein them in. Now he’s going to head a casino of his own?”

During the casino fight in 2011, 18 senior organized crime policing specialists submitted a letter which warned Vancouver City Council about rampant criminal activity of gangs and organized crime in casinos.
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Text media requests to:
Sandy Garossino 778-231-5230

See also:
Former Commander IIGET comments on casino oversight:
http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/004373.html
http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/004427.html
http://www.publiceyeonline.com/archives/004907.html

Appendix A:

Excerpted quotes from 2009 IIGET report on criminal activity in casinos (p 22):

“Canadian casinos are extremely vulnerable to money-laundering because they deal in cash and handle tens of millions of dollars every day.

Many investigations… have shown that members of organized crime use casinos for criminal purposes (e.g. loan sharking and money laundering) and that some of these criminal elements have successfully infiltrated the industry.

Since 2003 FINTRAC has sent several disclosure reports to the RCMP on suspicious transactions involving casinos… Anecdotally, police managers have suggested… nothing is being done to investigate these situations.”

(emphasis added)

Petition: Asking the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board to refer Edgewater Casino application back to Council

Vancouver DPB

Please sign our petition. In light of the recent Kendall Report on the rise in severe gambling addiction, we ask the City of Vancouver to refer the Edgewater Casino’s permit application back from the Development Permit Board (Dec. 16 meeting) to City Council for further review and a discussion about harm reduction. For more information, click “Read the petition.”

City of Vancouver: In light of Kendall Report on rising gambling addiction, send the Edgewater Casino application back to Council for review

This petition is now closed.

End date: Jan 31, 2014

Signatures collected: 659

659 signatures

Signatures
659Tokuko WrayJan 18, 2014
658Jose MangueJan 13, 2014
657Lila LaneJan 10, 2014
656val clarkJan 06, 2014
655Michael ProskowJan 06, 2014
654Kathy LauDec 29, 2013
653Ryan KruminsDec 21, 2013
652Harrison FordDec 21, 2013
651Jessica BruhnDec 20, 2013
650ugly as all heck build something less appallingly uglyDec 19, 2013
649Stewart McLeanDec 19, 2013
648Liliane KarnoukDec 19, 2013
647Manon LeeDec 19, 2013
646Edgar BridwellDec 18, 2013
645Romari UndiDec 18, 2013
644Daniel ShawDec 18, 2013
643Kathryn AllisonDec 17, 2013
642Yvonne LamDec 17, 2013
641Esther YuenDec 17, 2013
640Ryan TongDec 17, 2013
639Marco Del MonteDec 17, 2013
638Janet CartenDec 17, 2013
637Michele SimDec 17, 2013
636I want to gamble, dont take that away from me so fck this noise, batchesDec 17, 2013
635Dos BatosDec 17, 2013
634Pauvre fille t'es ridicule !Dec 17, 2013
633alright whos doing these fake names ..................... its meDec 17, 2013
632ur all fgts fck uDec 17, 2013
631Josh MontgomeryDec 17, 2013
630mike hawkDec 17, 2013
629 lil Timmy SnowdenDec 17, 2013
628LickMY ANUSDec 17, 2013
627Juicy jDec 17, 2013
626adolf hitlerDec 17, 2013
625Caroline Le BretonDec 17, 2013
624Audrey FooDec 17, 2013
623Ryan StevensDec 17, 2013
622Lindsay BurkeDec 17, 2013
621bev leederDec 17, 2013
620Harpreet SondhDec 17, 2013
619Tyson HernandezDec 17, 2013
618Chris LohDec 17, 2013
617Laurie MacKenzieDec 17, 2013
616Lyndsay PoapsDec 17, 2013
615John E WalkerDec 16, 2013
614Rowan BrownDec 16, 2013
613Ken WanDec 16, 2013
612kerr mcleodDec 16, 2013
611Leo ChangDec 16, 2013
610vanessa richardsDec 16, 2013

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

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Influential New Supporters of Vancouver Not Vegas

MILTON WONG PETER BUSBY KEN LUM COLLEEN HARDWICK DICK BRADSHAW RICHARD LIPSEY STAN DOUGLAS PENNY GURSTEIN LYNNE STOPKEWICH RODNEY GRAHAM GEORGE BOWERING KAREN FLAVELLE DONNA BRIDGEMAN COLIN MILES EARL MOULTON CHRIS MATHERS IAN WALLACE Rev. James IP

We are pleased to announce that a number of new supporters have joined other eminent people from diverse backgrounds to endorse the Coalition in its opposition to what would be Western Canada’s largest gambling casino.

These people and the many others who have supported the Coalition have asked themselves whether this casino is a reflection of the kind of Vancouver that they want for themselves and for future generationsTheir answer is a resounding no.

The latest individuals to offer their endorsement of the goals of Vancouver, Not Vegas! include:

Milton Wong, Chancellor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University, Order of Canada, Order of BC.
Peter Busby, Order of Canada, Founder and Chair, Canada Green Building Council.
Ken Lum, Artist.
Lynne Stopkewich, Filmmaker.
Colleen Hardwick (Nystedt) Urban Geographer, Film Producer.
Richard Lipsey, Professor  Emeritus, Simon Fraser University Economics Dept., Order of Canada.
George Bowering, former Poet Laureate of Canada, Order of Canada, Order of BC.
Val and Richard Bradshaw, Mr. Bradshaw is the former CEO of Phllips Hager & North Investment Management Ltd.
Karen Flavelle, President and CEO, Purdy’s Chocolates.
Donna Bridgeman, CA, (ret’d) GrowthWorks Capital
Penny Gurstein, University of British Columbia School of Community & Regional Planning.
Colin Miles,  Regional Director, Canadian Music Centre (Ret’d)   See his excellent comments here:   Video: Colin Miles tells it like it is
Earl Moulton, Retired Commander of Saskatchewan RCMP, Chair, Vision Quest Recovery Society (addiction recovery)
Stan Douglas, Artist
Ian Wallace, Artist
Rodney Graham, Artist
Chris Mathers, Retired corporal, RCMP, undercover officer specializing in gangs, money laundering; former President, KPMG Corporate Intelligence Inc. chrismathers.com

Vancouver City Council is holding public hearings about the proposed expansion of the Edgewater casino. The consultations take place tomorrow, April 9, from 10 am to 6 pm Saturday, April 9, at City Hall.

Hearings will continue Sunday if necessary, from 1 pm to 6 pm, and again on the evening of April 12.

For more information:

Ann Gibbon
604 263 0634
778 999 0064
info@anngibboncommunications.com

Full list of names continues below

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Public Forum on Casino plan, Wed Feb 9 in Chinatown

UPDATE: Thanks to the many people who came out on Wednesday night despite hockey traffic and difficult parking. Bing Thom, Peter Ladner and Sandy Garossino gave great speeches, the crowd was fired up, and there is a high level of community commitment to fight this casino plan until it is stopped.

Observations from the meeting:

The stories of political corruption, backroom deals, faulty bidding processes and serious allegations of conflict of interest really angered the crowd;

The term “moratorium on gaming expansion”  received applause whenever it was spoken; this is in fact our next strategy, to demand that City Council sever the gaming expansion section from the Edgewater zoning application in which it is deeply buried, and put gaming expansion in Vancouver to a plebiscite or referendum of some kind;

People want a better vision for Vancouver, one that doesn’t involved addiction, crime, corruption – they want to see a more wholesome international image for our city, and they want better architecture and better urban planning.

Thanks for coming, everyone! Now it’s time to do your part – click the “What Can I Do” tab above, and write to Mayor and Council, and please show up on February 17!

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With the exception of the Public Hearings on February 17 at City Hall, this will be the most important event in this fight against the planned downtown mega-casino. PLEASE ATTEND! Prominent Vancouver architect Bing Thom and publisher Peter Ladner will be giving the keynote speeches. Come down early and start the evening off with a dinner in Chinatown or Gastown!

If you plan to attend the public hearings over the casino, or even speak at them, you will find Wednesday’s Forum very informative. The story about the casino is fascinating – come hear it!

To download a PDF of our invitation that you can send out to your networks, click: Vancouver Not Vegas.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE LOGO BELOW AND UPLOAD IT TO YOUR FACEBOOK  (and Twitter) as your avatar! Thanks, everyone!

Presentation to Vancouver City Council by Sandra Garossino on gaming expansion


Sandra Garossino

Members of our Vancouver Not Vegas! Coalition speak to Vancouver City Council on February 1, arguing against gaming expansion in the City of Vancouver. The opportunity to speak to Council has come as a result of  Councillor Ellen Woodsworth’s motion caling for further examination of gaming practices in British Columbia before the City of Vancouver proceeds with allowing further gaming expansion within its jurisdiction.

Our coalition is speaking in support of Councillor Woodsworth’s motion.

The following presentation to Council is by Sandy Garossino. Sandy Garossino addressed Council as a former Crown prosecutor with specialized experience in gang prosecutions, and as a mother.

(For presentations by Sean Bickerton, Amir Ali Alibhai and Tom Durrie, click here; Sandy’s presentation is posted separately due to its length.)

 

February 1, 2011
Sandra Garossino—Submission to Vancouver City Council

No Public Debate of Gambling Expansion

In 10 short years gambling in BC has come a very long way from the smoky bingo halls and church basements where this all started. We are long overdue for a full debate on the role and limits of gambling in the public realm.

How far does the BC Lottery Corporation intend to expand?

The public has no idea, and neither do municipal councils. We are all forced to wait passively for each new application from corporate interests that do not answer to voters.

The time has come for full public consultations and review of provincial oversight of the gaming industry.

Online Petition

As of today the BC Association for Charitable Gaming has amassed more than 1200 signatures of Vancouverites asking Council to support the non-profit entitlement to gaming proceeds–this will be presented in due course.

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Our coalition’s presentations to Vancouver City Council on gambling expansion, February 1

Today several members of our Vancouver Not Vegas! Coalition are speaking to Vancouver City Council on the topic of general gaming expansion in the City of Vancouver. The opportunity to speak to Council has come as a result of a motion by Councillor Ellen Woodsworth, calling for further examination of gaming practices in British Columbia before the City of Vancouver proceeds with allowing further gaming expansion within its jurisdiction.

Our coalition is speaking in support of Councillor Woodsworth’s motion.

For presentations by Amir Alibhai, Sean Bickerton and Tom Durrie, read on. For a longer presentation by Sandy Garossino, click here.


Amir Ali Alibhai

January 31, 2011
Dear Mayor and Council:

The Alliance for Arts and Culture encourages Mayor and Council to adopt the
motion, moved by Councillors Woodsworth and Cadman regarding Casino
Development in our City. We have also been asked to speak on behalf of the
BC Association for Charitable Gaming (BCACG), which has submitted a written
submission. Together our organizations represent over 6,500 member
organizations and individuals. Motion B.6 addresses growing concerns in
this City and Province that Gaming has been expanded in an unchecked manner
and operates in a non-transparent and potentially conflicted way. The huge
revenues generated through this aggressive expansion have been attained on
the backs of charities, non-profits, municipalities and communities across
this province. In spite of this increase in revenues, the amount of funds
provided to charities and non-profits has decreased! We estimate that the
recent loss of funds to Metro Vancouver arts and cultural organizations will
be about $4 Million annually!

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Schedule of Edgewater Casino-related events: February

February is THE month for letting City Hall know how you feel about the Edgewater mega-casino in Vancouver. 

The public hearings begin at City Hall on February 17. It is imperative that citizens show up to events – particularly the two events in darker red below – and write letters!

February 1, City Hall. Please come! Citizens can speak to Councillor Ellen Woodsworth’s motion to suspend the Edgewater rezoning/expansion application until the BC government lives up to its obligations to fund charities. PLEASE SHOW UP! Even if it’s only to sit in the gallery. The agenda for Feb.1 is here. The motion is last in the morning session so it will be late-ish. You can watch online to see how quickly the morning’s agenda is going.

February 8, City Hall’s information meeting. Location TBA, watch this space. City staff will present their Edgewater plans, and it’s likely that BC gov’t people, David Podmore of PavCo (BC Pavilion Co., the crown corp dealing with the stadium and other BC gov’t owned lands), Paragon and BC Lottery Corp people will be there, along with the CAW Union (Canadian Auto Workers union would have the contract for the casino jobs). It’s worth having citizens show up as well, to make their feelings known.

February 9, Public Forum , 7 pm WE NEED ALL CONCERNED VANCOUVER CITIZENS TO SHOW UP. The press will be there, and this will send a message to City Hall that Vancouverites have opinions about this casino plan. Event is organized by the Vancouver Not Vegas! Coalition (that’s us) at the Chinese Cultural Centre 50 E. Pender Street (two blocks W. of Main) Chinatown, Vancouver Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain Station February 10, Vancouver Board of Trade This is a registration-only event hosted by David Podmore of PavCo and Scott Menke of Paragon Gaming The Board of Trade is pro-casino. As is Tourism Vancouver, Concord, etc. They will all be in attendance.

February 17, Public Hearing on Edgewater Casino expansion and rezoning Sign up to speak at this! Or just come – we must fill the gallery. Sign-up info to come. City Hall Cambie Street & 12th Avenue, Vancouver

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 1. If we are going to defeat this casino, you must come out to these events! We need numbers. And sign up to speak at City Council on the 17th. 2. Crucial: everyone must write a letter. It takes less than 5 mins; we’ve done the work for you. 3.  Sign the BCACG’s petition. It seems that City Council may be looking for a way to avoid this casino, and only enormous public involvement will give them the power to say no to this plan. Vancouverites should be able to decide what sort of city they want.

Councillor Ellen Woodsworth’s Motion against Casino Expansion

UPDATE: Councillor Woodsworth’s motion to Vancouver City Council was passed! The motion essentially calls for a postponement of gaming expansion in Vancouver until there’s been proper inquiry into gambling irregularities and cuts to charities, all of which have an impact on the City of Vancouver. The motion was finally presented to City Council at about 11 pm on Tuesday, January 18 in the Vancouver City Council chambers. After members of our coalition and others spoke in support of the motion, Coun. Woodsworth’s motion passed nearly unanimously.

**Please note that Woodsworth’s motion was amended slightly before being passed; the finalized motion is below.**

Note: When this motion was first introduced into Council in mid-January, many councillors did speak out against gambling or asked pointed questions. Some felt this marks a genuine change of heart in Vision and beyond; others claim it was merely political theatre on the part of Council, aimed at PavCo and Paragon Gaming as a way of extracting more concessions from them. Time will tell but two things are clear; strong public citizen opposition will be necessary if we are going to defeat this casino expansion; and that with that strong opposition, we can defeat this casino expansion.

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