Victoria City Council is no longer interested in hosting a downtown casino. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria no longer interested in hosting a downtown casino

Mayor puts forward letter that retracts interest in hosting a casino

The City of Victoria is no longer interested in hosting a casino in the downtown core.

In 2015 council directed staff to write to the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) saying that they would want to be considered as a host for a new casino.

READ MORE: Money laundering in B.C. casinos was a ‘collective’ system failure

Since then, more information has come forward that prompted Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps to retract the city’s interest. Helps explained this decision in a report coming up for discussion at this week’s Committee of the Whole meeting:

“Since 2015, there have been substantial issues uncovered with regard to money laundering in B.C. casinos as well as potential links to the trafficking of fentanyl,” the report reads. “The B.C. government is taking this issue seriously and is taking significant action to remedy this situation. Nonetheless prosecution of these offences is difficult. This new information that has arisen since council’s motion in 2015 has changed the landscape with regard to Victoria’s willingness to host a casino.”

READ MORE: Victoria wants more information on money laundering prevention in casinos

The decision comes after a report was released in March 2018 by Peter German, a lawyer and RCMP veteran, which stated that casinos in the Lower Mainland were determined to have “unwittingly served as laundromats for the proceeds of organized crime.”

German put forward 48 recommendations to help curb the illegal activity, and BCLC confirmed that most of these changes began coming into effect in January 2018.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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