Gateway Casinos’ proposal for South Surrey

LETTERS: Making a case for and against

Editor:

Re: BCLC ready to roll dice on city again, June 3.

Editor:

Re: BCLC ready to roll dice on city again, June 3.

Trust, in my opinion, is the most valuable business commodity, and the first step in earning trust is to listen.

This is why BCLC is inviting local governments South of the Fraser to take part in our expression-of-interest process. We want to gauge whether their communities would be interested in hosting a gaming facility.

You may recall the City of Surrey voted by a slim margin against hosting a casino in South Surrey in 2013 (Casino project a bust; Coleman chides city, Jan. 22, 2013). So why are we doing this again?

Jim Lightbody, BC Lottery Corporation president, CEO

First, we respect the authority of local governments to determine whether they want a facility; however, we can’t ignore market opportunities, particularly given the pace of growth. Furthermore, this isn’t just about one city – the identified market we are considering includes Delta and the Tsawwassen First Nation as well.

We’ve monitored the marketplace in the region and have watched the population grow and change. There is currently one bingo hall and one casino with a racetrack that serve the identified market within the region.

We now have a much better casino entertainment destination in the Cloverdale Town Centre; however, our market analysis indicates there is still an underserved market for gaming entertainment in the northern and western parts of the South of the Fraser region.

The same marketplace assessment also found the incremental revenue potential of a new gambling facility is estimated to be $25-50 million. As the organization that is accountable for generating net income to support the public good, we have to look for opportunities to provide great gaming entertainment while encouraging responsible gambling behaviour.

In addition, we collaborate with communities to ensure we are accepted as part of their development plan for entertainment, jobs and non-tax revenue. Local governments share 10 per cent of the net gaming income. A new facility could generate about $1.5-3 million annually for the host community – on top of the well-paying jobs a potential facility would bring.

BCLC is committed to a clear, transparent process. We will only consider moving to the next phase if one or more local governments express interest. If more than one expresses interest, we will select one based on the submissions and with the support of a third-party fairness monitor. When we do that, the odds are in favour of the right outcome, whatever that might be.

Jim Lightbody, BC Lottery Corporation president, CEO

• • •

After swearing off gambling expansion in South Surrey/White Rock, BCLC is taking another kick at the can in the City of Surrey.

This in spite of 84 per cent of Surrey residents and 94 per cent in the proposed area opposed three years ago, and a current PAN poll showing 77 per cent opposed.

To reiterate: expanding gambling does not fit Surrey’s economic or social development vision statements. Touted economic benefits would be short-term and detrimental to most local business, and the costs in societal terms exorbitant.

This is fool’s gold we’re being offered, and council should not even consider biting.

Susan  Lindenberger, White Rock

 

 

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