Second Victoria Casino

The city of Victoria is one step closer to getting a new casino.

The greater Victoria area may be in line for a new casino, thanks to a City Council decision to move forward with the casino proposal.

Locals, by and large, support the establishment of a second casino venue which would probably be built either at Crystal Garden, in Saanich, Esquimalt or Along Belleville Street in James Bay.

Controversy

The people at the View Royal Casino, which is also in Victoria, say that another big casino would devastate the existing casino.

As expected, the owners of the View Royal Casino are not supporting the new project and the BCLC’s easy sign-off has raised concerns. The BC Lottery Corporation is refusing to explain how it came to the conclusion that the Victoria area could support two casinos. The lack of transparency is worrisome to many, though BCLC promises to release revenue projection details “soon” saying “”They’re not released because it could harm the operations of BCLC and our private-sector service providers. The gaming industry’s competitive, and we do maintain that releasing this type of a study of market data, it could negatively affect our current and future business.”

BCLC says the new facility would generate up to $2.5 million a year for the host local government which explains, in part, the reasons that there is stiff competition to host the venue. Since Victoria stands to profit from a new casino Victoria officials are open to the idea of a casino downtown. Ten percent of net casino profits from BCLC casinos are turned over to the host municipality. For an idea of what that means in dollars, in 2014-15, the View Royal contributed $4 million to the municipality. This money was then shared with other West Shore communities as per a pre-existing agreement.

City Guidelines

There are a few city sites being considered for the second Victoria-area casino. Casino revenues are being considered to boost housing initiatives such as fire hall replacement, the replacement of Crystal Pool, continued work on the David Foster Harbour Pathway and a planned $7.5-million cycling network.

Victoria mayor Lisa Help supports the idea of a casino but wants to be sure that it won’t come with a large surface parking lot.  “One of the core considerations is parking. So if we could have something closer to downtown with all of the parking underground, then sure. But what I don’t envision is a giant parking lot. It needs to fit into the urban fabric of the city. It needs to feel like an urban casino, not like a suburban casino.”

The new casino would also have to be integrated into a mixed-use development that contains non-gaming amenities to meet the requirements of the Victoria Casino Rezoning Guidelines. Areas that could be considered include the Douglas-Blanshard corridor from the northern edge of downtown to the city limits at Tolmie Street and the tourism district of James Bay.

Ideally, the casino would be located in a major tourist centre so that it’s close to hotels, restaurants,  parking and shopping in order to accommodate the increased demand for leisure activities that a casino would generate and increase the revenues – both to the local merchants and to the city.

Opposition

Not everyone is enthused about the idea of a new Victoria casino. Councilwoman Pam Madoff, for one, is skeptical “It’s never been anything that excites me terribly much. I think with a casino, to me the only benefit it provides can be seen as financial and I always like to have more than one principle brought to bear when I make a decision,” Madoff said.

Another consideration is parking since casinos generally require a large expanse of land that can be used for free parking. Madoff expanded that “that’s sort of contrary to good urban-planning principles as well.”

Another objector is councilman Ben Isitt who said “I don’t think we need to be pursuing that revenue stream. It comes disproportionately from people who are addicted, people who are low and moderate income.”

Freemarket Casinos

There’s another option for BC players who don’t want to head out to the brick-and-mortar casinos – freemarket casinos. Freemarket casinos are regulated casinos which are based in Malta, Antigua and other offshore locales. When you play at a freemarket casino you enter a casino venue in which you gamble right on your PC or mobile device for real money prizes.

The freemarket casinos of Canada are monitored by the eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance Agency) which regularly reviews the casinos’ paytables, house edges and random number generators to ensure that players enjoy a safe and secure gaming episode. eCOGRA also functions as a mediator in cases of casino-player dispute.

When you play at a freemarket casino you have multiple options. The casino features all of the games that you’d find in a brick-and-mortar casino including card games of poker and blackjack, table games that include roulette, craps and baccarat, lotteries such as sic bo, keno, bingo and scratch card and hundreds of three-reel classic slots and five-reel video slots.

Banking at freemarket casinos is facilitated through digital banks which include ewallet and evoucher cards, echecks, credit and debit cards and banks that make wire and direct transfers to and from your local Canadian bank account.

Best of all, the house edge at freemarket casinos is significantly lower than that of brick-and-mortar casinos – and even than that of provincial gaming corporation online casino sites. That means that, when playing same games, freemarket casinos pay out more in wins and bonuses.

When you consider your gambling entertainment, check out all of the options.

 

 

 






Written by Heather Harmon

I have been following the Canadian Lottery for both print and visual media outlets since the lottery's 1982 launch. My research focuses on the lotto's individual character as it pertains to its individuality in each Canadian region. The lottery's rollover feature and the pick-your-own-number feature are credited to her input. I enjoy spending time visiting the communities in which the lottery operates so that I can get a sense of the kind of impact that the Canadian lotto has on the localities in which it is offered. I specialize in reporting on legal issues which affect the Canadian lottery. My journalistic investigations are cited as having played a major role in maintaining the lotteries as safe and secure gaming venues for Canadians, ensuring that the lotto remains a protected gambling entity.