Casino News

Now that Victoria Stepped Aside, Saanich Shows Renewed Casino Interest

Casino expansion across British Columbia see previous players making their way in once again, now that the City of Victoria decided to stay away from a second casino. Saanich Councilor Susan Brice wants to pave the way back in with a motion that would seek the opinion of local officials.

Even though it was a second choice for British Columbia Lottery Corporation back then, Saanich might be a winner this time. It could be recalled that nearly three years ago the debate about a second casino venue that would bring more to the Victoria – Saanich area.

The lottery corporation was seeking gaming expansion in the area and those were the two locations competing for hosting the next casino venue that was projected to attract thousands of tourists and casino patrons. Upon a period of evaluation when it comes to the pros and cons of gambling operation, Victoria was highlighted as the more favorable option.

Saanich Might Re-Enter Casino Race

At the time Mayor Lisa Helps was delighted to see her community being the chosen one for gaming development, meaning that Victoria had the chance to welcome a second casino venue in addition to the existing Elements Casino.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation oversees the gaming venue, but for this casino expansion, the lottery corporation was also eyeing casino operators to the likes of Gateway Casinos, Changes Gaming Entertainment, and Gamehost Inc. Prior to being eliminated as a choice for this expansion, Saanich proposed several possible locations for future casino development.

Then-Mayor Richard Atwell was optimistic about the prospects of a casino venue and the way it would boost the local economy in the long run. However, along with this he also kept the realistic outlook on the field, as problem gambling and irresponsible attitude towards gambling were also on the table. He estimated that several years of operation would have been needed for the new facility to have a positive impact on city coffers.

The proposed locations for development included Douglas Street area from Tolmie Avenue to Uptown Centre, as well as the Burnside-Tillicum area. In addition to those, there were also locations such as Shelbourne Street, the Cedar Hill area, and possibly Royal Oak. For the time being, Saanich officials have not discussed the subject of locations, as the renewed conversation is still at its beginning stages.

Gaming Revenue Could Bring 10-Pct Boost to Coffers

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps made it clear in December 2018 that she is concerned about the money-laundering crisis in British Columbia’s gaming field and this makes her second-guess potential casino venue expansion. This statement came as a response to BCLC seeking updates on the communities that are still interested in hosting a new casino venue, as the bidding process could commence in the following months.

Upon further discussions and heated voting, the city decided to take no action on future gambling operation. This left an open slot for Saanich to possibly make it in the conversation once more. For the time being City Council would solely take the temperature and explore its options for development in this direction.

Mayor Haynes stated that until councilors obtain more information, no firm decision would be issued. Gaming operation in the area would result in a 10-percent share of the net gaming revenue allocated to the city coffers, something that would benefit the community and its variety of projects.