Jan 2011 26

Heated Debate About New Mega-casino in Downtown

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Mega casino in Downtown by Brandi Sims
Mega casino in Downtown
Photo by Brandi Sims

On January 18, the Vancouver City Council discussed and preliminarily allowed a new mega-casino construction that’s being proposed for a newly renovated site in downtown Vancouver. The location of the potential future complex is right next to the BC Place stadium at its South-Western side and is referred to as the BC Place site. If finally approved (at a city council meeting next month), it will be a Vegas-style casino operated by the Paragon Gaming company from Las Vegas and will be western Canada’s largest gaming place with 1500 slot machines and 150 gaming tables.

The company will in fact relocate its Edgewater Casino at the Plaza of Nations (Pacific Boulevard) to this site and expand it. Two hotel towers and four high rise condominium towers are also part of the $450 million project.

The Public Hearing to approve of this project was full of emotional debate questioning the suitability of such a project in downtown Vancouver. The same politicians that approved the – until then banned – slot machines in Vancouver voiced their concerns about gambling expansion and an increase in organized crime, so the opposition of the project doesn’t seem to be strong in this case. In addition, if the Vancouver City Council doesn’t approve the mega-casino, they will probably lose $10 million in gambling profit that would otherwise flow to the civic government’s budget.

If you’re interested in the debate, you can have a look at the official report which contains exhausting information about the project, including preliminary visualizations.

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