Thursday, February 22, 2007

 

Health Conversations? More B.C. resort-style casinos to attract tourists and boost gambling revenues; 60% of BC adults already gambling

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B.C. casinos to get glitzy makeover. 'Dumpy' facilities to become resorts in bid to boost revenue, and to position casino gaming as a major tourist attraction for out-of-province players.
 
Lindsay Kines
Times Colonist February 22, 2007

The B.C. Lottery Corporation plans to roll out more resort-style casinos to attract tourists from outside the province and boost gambling revenue by more than 15 per cent over the next three years, planning documents show.

The casinos will replace older models and mirror Richmond's glitzy River Rock Casino, which boasts a five-star hotel, conference centre, restaurants, and "theatre-style show lounge." {snip}

Solicitor General John Les said said two of the "replacement" casinos are already under construction in Burnaby and New Westminster, but the total number of casinos in the province will remain at 17.

Two of those are on the Island, one in View Royal and the other Nanaimo, but Les didn't say if they are on the list to be improved.

The new facilities "will be more attractive than the previous casinos, which were kind of old and dumpy," he said. "So they may well attract clientele such as we've seen at River Rock, for example, where people do travel from outside the province actually to visit those kinds of facilities."

But not all of River Rock's clientele has been welcome. Richmond RCMP have raised concerns that the casino led to a rise in gambling-related crime and allowed new organized crime groups move into the city. {snip}

NDP Leader Carole James, however, accused the government of expanding gambling, while ignoring its attendant problems.

"I think whether it's gambling addiction, whether it's safety issues for people in those casinos ... the government has done nothing to address them. I think it's irresponsible to look at expanding without addressing the concerns that are there now."

Les has admitted previously, and he reiterated yesterday, that government broke its 2001 election promise to stop the expansion of gambling. "But (there is) not increased locations of casinos or different forms. The existing casinos have been upgraded, and there have been more slot machines put into those locations."

In fact, the lottery corporation expects casino upgrades to help boost gambling revenue from $2.4 billion this year to nearly $2.8 billion by 2010. It also anticipates that online gambling will continue to pull in more money. Sales of online lottery products through its PlayNow website have nearly tripled since 2004 from $5 million to $13 million.

In addition, the service plan notes that more than 60 per cent of adult British Columbians participated in some form of gaming in 2006, and the Crown corporation hopes to build on that.

Still, Les said it's up to British Columbians whether they choose to gamble. "We're not hustling people into casinos," he said. "It's an optional thing."


Full story at:
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/index.html
Or: How to create a culture of corruption.
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Comments:
This is ironic - BC and Canada seem to never fail to go where everyone else has gone and would like to come back from, while wishing they had never gone. Witness Stevie trying to out Macho Commander Codpiece, or ecouraging fish farms in spite of the experience of Norway or Scotland.

Since I can now gamble almost anywhere nearby, Washington state and Alberta, to name our immediate neighbors, and they of course can gamble at home - destination casinos become less effective everyday at attracting tourist dollars. But they certainly make it easier for the government and its friends lucky enough to get licenses to exploit those in the local population with gambling addictions.

Of course as an added bonus we get the benefit of increased crime, especially loan-sharking, extortion and skimming the handle. Every podunk jurisdiction in North America can't expect to be Las Vegas, Reno or Atlantic City. When everybody can do it at home, why travel for the chance (pun intended) unless it's to somewhere extra special like Las Vegas or Monte Carlo.
 
Right you are, Koot.

You forgot one important element: the great benefit of money laundering.

No denying that $7Billion cash is a big problem, that way.

The casinos can easily take care of that. No sweat.
 
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