Applications for casino expansion to be approved in Vancouver
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Applications for casino expansion to be approved in Vancouver

After taking into consideration a recommendation to ease the rules on casino expansion in the city of Vancouver, the Vancouver City Council has voted to amend the moratorium on this issue, and thus to allow more gambling opportunities within the city. 

The first news of this potential expansion came at the beginning of May of this year, when the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) made a request involving the way in which the policy in question ought to be amended

Following the council’s consideration of the BCLC’s request, news has finally come out that it has indeed been approved

The amendment to this previously considered iron-clad rule will only concern the city’s previously established casinos, and thus Vancouver’s two land-based gaming venues

These land-based casinos include the following establishments: 

  • Parq Casino Vancouver 

  • Hastings Racecourse and Casino 

In this way, any new gambling establishments that might be erected within the parameters of the city’s jurisdiction in the years to come will still have to comply with the city's previously withheld moratorium. 

In their casino expansion request, the BCLC highlighted the way in which their proposal would involve the inclusion of additional table games and slot machines in the two land-based gaming establishments listed above. 

Additionally, the BCLC put emphasis on the way in which both gaming establishments have the capacity to increase the amount of gambling facilities on their premises. 

The approval of this amendment would guarantee that more revenue would be garnered for the city and local communities

In this way, the BCLC stated that, for the reasons listed above, the Vancouver City Council should take their request into consideration

The final decision of the Vancouver City Council 

The Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities of the Vancouver City Council was appointed the task of assessing this request. 

On the 8th of May 2024, several options were assessed in this proposal. 

The moratorium that was being assessed placed a prohibition on the entities of Vancouver from sending in an application that would suggest the expansion of gaming in its land-based gaming establishments.  

The moratorium in question had been in place in the city of Vancouver since 2011

Recently, however, the decision of the Vancouver City Council was announced to the public, allowing amendments to be made and Section 18 (1) of the Gaming Control Act to be revised. 

In this way, the staff of the Vancouver City Council will henceforth be allowed to receive applications of this nature. Existing gaming facilities will be allowed to expand and therefore substantially change their gaming facilities. 

In addition to this, the gaming establishments themselves will need to provide full assessments of the health and safety and economic impacts of their proposals.  

BCLC’s role in this matter 

The BCLC has stated that it will continue to work with the City of Vancouver and other partners in this regard, thus ensuring that it will be involved in any potential proposals for gambling expansion that Vancouver will receive with regards to these two gaming establishments. 

Amongst these partners, the BCLC will also work closely with government and public health officials.  

In addition to this, the BCLC has stated that the public’s input in this regard will be consulted regularly during this process. 

The two land-based gaming establishments that are currently in Vancouver 

Parq Casino Vancouver currently offers its players a total of 600 slot machines and 61 gambling tables

Hastings Racecourse and Casino, on the other hand, offers players a total of 446 slot machines

The amount of gambling facilities that the BCLC is intending to add to these establishments has not been communicated thus far. 

The BCLC did, however, make a statement on the estimated increase in revenue that is expected to be generated with the amendment of this rule. 

The expansion of gambling for both Parq Casino Vancouver and Hastings Racecourse and Casino could potentially rack up somewhere between $2.6 million to $5 million

“BCLC is seeking to expand gambling opportunities at the Parq and Hastings Racecourse casinos by potentially increasing the number of slot machines and table games, which would result in an expansion of gambling capacity at these facilities. Although the scope of the desired expansion has yet to be confirmed, consideration of any expansion would require the Moratorium to be amended.  

“BCLC suggests that the expansion of gambling as they envision at the Parq and Hastings Racecourse casinos would result in increased revenue at the respective casinos. If achieved, this would in turn increase the revenue to the City as the host local government. BCLC has projected the host local government share of potential increased revenues to be in the range of $2.6 million to $5 million.” 

In addition to this, the staff report released by the City of Vancouver states that the municipal government of Vancouver is set to receive 10% of net casino gaming revenue that is accrued within the city’s jurisdiction. 

In the financial reports of the fiscal year 2022-2023, both Parq Casino Vancouver and Hastings Racecourse and Casino contributed more than $7 million to the city of Vancouver, with Parq having supplied the largest portion of this revenue: 

“The Provincial Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch regulates all gambling in BC, including regulatory oversight of BCLC, which conducts and manages commercial gambling. In 2002, the Province enacted the Gaming Control Act, which gives local governments the ability to approve or deny hosting gambling facilities in their jurisdiction and to regulate specific aspects of the gambling facility, including the size of the gambling floor, the allowable number of slots and table games, and related issues like responsible gambling. Local governments that host casinos (“host local government”) receive 10% of the net casino gaming revenue from casinos within their jurisdiction.” 

The staff members of the Vancouver City Council express their vote 

The staff report that was released on the 8th of May specifies that, when deliberating upon this decision, there were several options that the council had taken into consideration: 

1. “Amend the Moratorium to direct staff to receive applications to substantially change the extent of lottery schemes at existing gaming facilities under Section 18 (1) of the Gaming Control Act and require the applicant to provide a full health and safety and economic British Columbia Lottery Corporation – Gaming Requests – RTS 16190 Page 5 impact assessment of their proposals (Recommended).” 

2. “Lift the Moratorium entirely to consider applications for gambling expansion at existing or new facilities and require applicants to provide a full health and safety impact assessment of their proposals.”  

3. “Retain the status quo by leaving the Moratorium in place.” 

4. “Direct staff to lead and resource a full assessment and analysis of the public policy implications of amending or lifting the Moratorium and report back to Council.” 

From these four options, the staff of the Vancouver City Council ended up voting for the first option

More about the British Colombia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) 

The British Colombia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) describe their mission in the following way: 

“Did you know? We’re a lot more than lotto. Funds generated by lottery, casinos and sports-betting go back to the Province to help support healthcare, education and community programs all across B.C.” 

In addition to this, the lottery corporation describes its role within the province of British Columbia as follows: 

“BCLC owns and manages all the lottery equipment at retail locations where tickets are purchased. Online, we offer lottery products and monthly ticket subscriptions on our regulated gambling site PlayNow. Our Lotto app allows players to buy tickets online and scan paper tickets to see if they’ve won. We’re also responsible for the prize payouts to lottery winners.” 

“As the Crown corporation responsible for managing gambling in B.C., we set the standards, policies and procedures for the operation of all gambling facilities to ensure a high standard of security and integrity.” 

“BCLC offers two ways adults across B.C. can take part in sports betting: Sports Action and PlayNow Sports. They’re the best of both worlds for players who are 19 years or older.” 

“More than 284,000 people currently enjoy gaming on PlayNow.com. With lottery, sports betting, bingo, keno, online slots or online casino games like Blackjack, Poker, Craps and Roulette, players can choose the online version of their favourite games while connecting with others across the province. PlayNow also offers Live Baccarat, Baccarat eSqueeze, Blackjack, Roulette and Auto-Roulette with Live Casino.” 

More about Parq Casino Vancouver

Established in 2017, Parq Casino Vancouver is situated in downtown Vancouver, covering a total of 72,000 square feet

The gaming venue offers its players a vast range of the following entertainment options

  • 600 slot machines 

  • 61 table games 

  • A vast choice of high-star restaurants and luxury lounges 

  • A 30,000-square-foot outdoor park 

  • Wellness services 

  • Two hotels, including ballroom 

In this way, this gaming venue has exceeded the maximum amount of gambling facilities that they are allowed to offer their players on the premises. 

More about Hastings Racecourse and Casino 

Hastings Racecourse and Casino is owned and operated by Great Canadian Entertainment

This land-based gambling establishment offers players a total of 446 slot machines from an allowance of 600. 

In addition to this, the gaming venue’s casino floor is situated just beneath the horse racing grandstands

About the authorMelanie Cazenave
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A specialist in online casinos, she also loves proofreading. With her, it's impossible for mistakes to slip through the cracks. A true lover of letters, she binds articles and retouches them to make them as perfect as possible.

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