A recent survey conducted by the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) on how residents feel about a new gambling facility in Victoria shows that more than half think the region would see an overall benefit and 69 per cent believe it would appeal to tourists.
“Overall, respondents were neutral about the concept of adding a facility,” said the BCLC in a news release. “Tax revenue, tourism and jobs were perceived as the main benefits. Residents also indicated concerns related to gambling addiction.”
The results of the survey were released in conjunction with the announcement that the BCLC is on the hunt for a partner to develop/operate a potential casino and entertainment venue in the City of Victoria.
Earlier this week, the BCLC issued a request on B.C. Bid for pre-qualification as a first step towards selecting a service provider to contract with for the proposed facility. Proponents will then have an opportunity to respond to an ensuing request for proposals in 2017.
According to BCLC, the selected service provider must demonstrate a shared commitment to responsible gambling and social responsibility, and will be responsible for finding the appropriate location within the city. Once a casino facility proposal is put forward, the City of Victoria will need to seek and consider community input.
The BCLC also plans on undertaking a health impact assessment to measure health effects of the proposed casino and entertainment facility.
In July, the BCLC announced Victoria was selected over Saanich as the preferred municipality to host a second gaming facility in the region. Mayor Lisa Helps called the announcement “good news” for the city, but not everyone agrees.
A few city councillors believe a casino will cause harm in the community and have been contacted by residents opposed to the idea.
Local governments that host a casino or gaming facility receive a 10 per cent share of the province’s net gaming income generated by those facilities. In 2014, View Royal received more than $4 million in gaming revenue from its casino. The money was used to fund library services and other community programs.