B.C. Casino Workers Say They’re Forgotten

By Ben Hamill - March 29 2021
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B.C. Casino Workers Say They’re Forgotten

So significant is the impact of ongoing casino closures in British Columbia, that casino workers say they feel as if government has forgotten about them. Gateway Casino workers recently appeared in a video they hope will draw to their desperate plea the attention of provincial government decisionmakers.

British Columbia is the only province that has not yet given its casinos the reopening green light – this despite the fact that all of the required health and safety protocols have been put into place by Gateway, and have been in position for quite some time now.

Two single mothers can be heard revealing their plight in the video, and it’s quite clear that the year-long closures of B.C. casinos have had an enormous and devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods. Employees are obviously desperate for any indication from provincial authorities as to when they can expect to be in a position to return to work and to earning a living.

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Workers Reveal Their Plight

The gambling industry is one of the few B.C. industries that has not yet been permitted to resume business, with even restaurants and large shopping centres officially back to doing business and welcoming customers. Casino workers say they’ve been largely left in the dark regarding when they can expect to be permitted to return to their places of employment.

The video, which is titled Don’t Forget About Casino Workers, was produced and posted online by the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union, and shows several people employed by Gateway Casinos revealing their heart-wrenching stories of desperation and loss of income.

One such interviewee, a slot attendant and member of the Occupational Health and Safety Board, reveals how both Gateway as well as the relevant labour union have worked hard at obtaining a reopening permission, but without any success. The attendant too makes mention of the fact that despite all of the mandatory health and safety measures and safeguards having been put into place, government has been silent on a reopening date.

Government Responds

According to Gateway Director of Public Relations, Tanya Gabara, B.C. is the only province left remaining with not a single re-opened casino or gaming venue. Gabara says that the situation has become unbearable, and that at this point in time, it seems unnecessary due to the fact that Gateway’s Ontario and Alberta properties have been successful at reopening without any negative consequences on the local communities in those provinces.

Government has since responded to the plea of workers by saying it fully recognises the negative impact that casino closures have had on the livelihoods of B.C. workers. It however stopped short of giving any indication regarding a tentative reopening date.

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