This month, the County of Barrhead councillors have announced that they could get behind the request for the relocation of Camrose Resort Casino to Edmonton. By supporting the proposal of Capital City Casinos, the councillors believe that the move would see more much-required money flow into rural non-profit organizations in the area.
A while back, Capital City Casinos sent a request to Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis to greenlight the potential relocation of the Camrose casino to the Ellerslie Industrial area in Edmonton. However, since then the gambling regulator has denied the proposal as many local residents have opted against the move. Now, the operator is appealing the rejection.
Calling for Reconsideration
On February 7, 2023, councillors of the County of Barrhead decided to draft a letter to the AGLC, asking it to review its decision and approve the relocation of the casino to Edmonton. It should be explained that Capital City Casinos wanted to relocate from Camrose on the basis that the location was no longer financially viable due to two decisions from AGLC.
The operator also claimed that with its decision the Crown is effectively harming local charities in the Camrose-St. Albert AGLC’s defined area. These organizations and non-profits get less funding than others as the casino will deliver lower proceeds unless it is moved to the Edmonton address. The company cited that even if relocated it would still serve the same charities.
Meanwhile, Reeve Doug Drozd commented that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta are also supporting the request. He commented that the relocation made sense, as it would increase the pot for the Camrose region and Alberta. He explained that the move also made sense to the AGLC but political stances were involved and the Crown decided to refuse the relocation.
Also, policy and advocacy manager Wyatt Skovron stated that casinos in St. Albert and Camrose generate the lowest revenue per event and have the highest wait time for non-profits. He further explained that the relocation would not be a long-term solution to the inequity of the charity gaming system but it would be a sign that the regulator sees the flaws in the current gaming system.
Additionally, Mr. Drozd said that if the county can influence AGLC’s decision it would be a good thing. He also mentioned that a casino in the city which provides funds to the surrounding area charities is not something new, as there is already one in Calgary. He admits that it is not perfect as there are more equitable models such as province-wide pooling.
Alberta’s Gaming Model
It is worth noting that the AGLC’s unique gambling model could be of benefit to the Albertan community and charitable groups. Via this model organizations are able to host bingo and raffle nights to raise funds for their operations. Representative of the Crown said it is always working on guaranteeing that its policy support stakeholders and makes things accessible.
Source: Kerton, Barry “Helping create a more equitable charity gaming system” Town and Country Today, February 16, 2023