Calgary

Casino's woes could hurt rural schools

The company that owns a well-known Calgary casino has filed for protection from creditors, worrying non-profit groups and schools who raise thousands of dollars through the business.

The company that owns a well-known Calgary casino has filed for protection from creditors, worrying non-profit groups and schools who raise thousands of dollars through the business.

Evergreen Gaming, which owns the Silver Dollar Casino, has until May 15 to figure out how to deal with a $30-million note a creditor has called in. The loan financed the company's acquisition of the Silver Dollar from former owner Frank Sission in 2007, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

In the third quarter of 2008, Evergreen lost $1.4 million on revenue of $12.7 million. The company owns 11 casinos in Washington state, and told the newspaper that people there were spending less because of the economic downturn.

No one from the casino or Evergreen Gaming wanted to speak to CBC News about the situation.

Dozens of charitable organizations in Southern Alberta raised money through the casino last year, from a minor hockey association in High River to the Lions Club in Highwood.

Volunteering at the Silver Dollar was worth about $45,000 to each of two Chestermere schools.

Janet Gibb, head of the parents' council at Chestermere Middle School, said losing that money could mean no new sports uniforms for students or computer technology like Smart boards for the school. To get on the casino fundraiser list for the Silver Dollar took about two years so she doesn't think there would be a quick alternative if it closed, she said.

"In terms of fundraising, I just don't know where we can access that much money," she said. "I'm thinking about all the other schools around, for example, Rainbow Creek [Elementary], which doesn't even have a playground at this point. They're trying to raise money and their turn isn't for a year."

The southeast Calgary casino also has bowling alley and a 1,200 seat live entertainment complex and conference centre.