The Great Canadian Casino Company in Vancouver is going ahead with its plan to install 150 slot machines at Hastings Race Course despite a pending court decision.
The company announced Tuesday night it isawaiting a permit from the B.C. Lottery Corporation, and then final approval from the City of Vancouver, before the 150 one-armed bandits are in place — the first of a total of 600 slot machines planned for the site.
But those opposing the expansion with the Hastings Park Conservancy said the plan is still premature because it's still before the courts.
David Bornman, the conservancy's president, said although they lost a B.C. Supreme Court battle to stop the plans in August 2006, and that their petition to the court a few weeks ago was rejected, their appeal is expected to be heard in January.
Bornman claims slot machines are much more addictive than horse racing and will bring crime and other social problems to the neighbourhood.
"First of all, this is a park, it should not be used as a casino," Bornman told CBC News Tuesday night.
"We know that 80 to 90 per cent of gamblers are local and the machines are three to four times more addictive than horse racing so with that kind of addiction in East Vancouver, we really don't need any more," he said.
Despite the pending court decisions, the Great Canadian Casino's Howard Blank saidit's time to move ahead and "we feel very confident."
"We went through an extensive public process, and the (B.C.) Supreme Court ruled in our favour," said Blank, who is vice-president, media and entertainment.
"If it was overturned, slots would be removed from the Hastings Race Course facility but we feel we will be able to proceed," Blank said.