Vancouver is getting a new casino — comparable in size to the River Rock casino — near the shores of False Creek, CBC News has confirmed.
According to sources, the casino will include a 500-room hotel and a gaming area large enough to accommodate 1,000 slot machines.
It will be built in the 700,000-square-foot parking lot between BC Place stadium and the Cambie Street bridge.
The new commercial and entertainment complex will replace the current Edgewater Casino in the old B.C. pavilion from Expo 86, which has not been doing well because of problems with access and parking. The Edgewater's land lease expires in three years.
Tourism Minister Kevin Krueger refused to confirm the casino deal Friday.
"It's already a world-class city. We see this opportunity to not just spruce up, but actually create a whole new vibrant area all around BC Place," Krueger said.
The Paragon Gaming Co. of Las Vegas — which owns the Edgewater Casino — is reported to be developing the new project.
"I would characterize it as an integrated resort," said Warren Buckley, president and CEO of the B.C. Pavilion Corp. "We've had conversations with the developer about components that have meeting rooms, conference facilities, hotels for sure, entertainment and restaurants."
The property will be developed under a long-term lease on land the city has wanted to see put to productive use for a long time. But official approval has yet to be granted.
"There's probably a good business case for it or it wouldn't be coming forward at this point," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told CBC News Friday.
"I'd like to see the details as to how they see this working out and how they see it benefitting the community immediately surrounding."
Residents in the vicinity already see some drawbacks.
"I think that there are some people, probably in the area of around Cooper's Park and Yaletown, that would be not happy about that," said Patsy McMillan of the False Creek Residents Association. "I don't think they ever expected that that would happen across the street from them."
An official announcement about the project is expected before the end of March.