British Columbia

Victoria casino decision raises concerns in View Royal

The B.C. Lottery Corporation is refusing to explain how it decided there will be enough gambling dollars for a second casino in Greater Victoria.

B.C. Lottery Corporation says report that led to the decision is proprietary and can't be shared

The owner of the View Royal casino says wants to know how the B.C. Lottery Corporation came to its decision to open a second gambling facility in Greater Victoria. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The B.C. Lottery Corporation is refusing to explain how it decided there will be enough gambling dollars for a second casino in Greater Victoria.

The move is raising concerns about a lack of transparency.

"We would like to see the justification they are presenting that there is $45 million in untapped gaming revenue on the south island, because we just simply don't believe it," said David Screech, mayor of the greater Victoria suburb View Royal, which is home to an existing casino.

BCLC says it did a market assessment and found an additional gaming facility could operate without impacting the one at View Royal, but the agency says the report is considered "proprietary" and can't be shared.

Screech disagrees.

"I think they have a responsibility," he said. "They are a public corporation, or a Crown corporation, and they should be releasing that information to their stakeholders."

In an interview with All Points West host Robyn Burns, Laura Piva-Babcock with BCLC defended not releasing the revenue projection details.

She added that BCLC staff would be meeting with Mayor Screech to discuss some of their findings, but would not disclose details from those findings.

"They're not released because it could harm the operations of BCLC and our private-sector service providers," Piva-Babcock said. "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."

Victoria and Saanich are in the running as possible hosts for the second casino.

Piva-Babcock says local government consent will be a necessary condition for the new casino, no matter which location is preferred by BCLC.

The lottery corporation says the new facility would generate up to $2.5 million a year for the host local government.

With files from Megan Thomas and CBC Radio One's All Points West

To hear the full interview with Laura Piva-Babcock, click the audio labelled: Victoria suburb cries foul over possible 2nd casino


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