View Royal Casino, owned by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, became part of our Westshore community in 2001. It has created jobs, attracted tourists, generated economic activity and provided new revenues for local taxpayers. It has served our communities well. A Casino Revenue Sharing Agreement is in place that allows all seven Westshore municipalities – View Royal, Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Esquimalt, Sooke and Highlands – to receive a share of gaming revenues. This is an agreement that is unique in BC.
From the outset the clear understanding by all parties was that View Royal Casino would be a regional casino and the only such facility in Greater Victoria. On the strength of that understanding, Great Canadian has operated successfully for 15 years.
The company had made plans for a new 600 seat theater, full-service restaurants and additional gaming areas for a total investment of up to $22 million. However, these expansion plans have been put on hold because of BC Lottery Corporation’s interest in building a second casino somewhere else in Greater Victoria. BCLC commissioned a market analysis which anticipates significantly more gaming revenue can be generated in Greater Victoria. On the strength of that study, in late 2015 BCLC asked local communities if any were interested in hosting a new gaming facility to capture this alleged revenue. Five communities responded: Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, Esquimalt First Nation and Songhees First Nation. BCLC has now narrowed that list to Saanich and Victoria. It has not made any public commitment to proceed with either but we expect the Crown Corporation may pick one in the next few months.
We think a second casino is a bad idea – for View Royal, for the Westshore, for the region – so we are calling on BC Lottery Corporation to drop its plans for a second casino in Greater Victoria.
- Great Canadian will then be in a position to proceed with its $22 million expansion of View Royal Casino;
- The View Royal Casino expansion will be completed by May 2017, generating construction and other jobs and local economic activity in 2016 and 2017;
- An expanded View Royal Casino will generate significantly more provincial and municipal revenues than it does now, and these will begin long before any revenues can be generated by a second facility;
- Residents in View Royal and other West Shore communities will not face the loss of important municipal revenues and jobs in their communities;
- It will avoid having two mid-sized facilities in Greater Victoria, neither of which would be large enough to justify the non-gaming amenities demanded by the modern marketplace.
Mayor David Screech
Town of View Royal