Letters to the Editor

Casino a benefit to Surrey

Re: Proposal for a new resort casino and entertainment hub at 10 Avenue and 168 Street.

The proposal is a relocation and expansion of existing slot machine gaming in Newton, intended to provide locals and visitors with a unique destination for exceptional dining, concerts, entertainment, accommodation, conventions and gaming.

Gambling is a choice and a popular one. This proposal delivers a new choice for South Surrey residents who want a night out without travelling to neighbouring communities or across the border.

Since 2004, the site of this proposed development, the Highway 99 corridor, has been set aside for commercial development by the city. While the proposed casino will be the first commercial development for the area, it will not be the last.

We announced the proposal in June and since then, BCLC representatives have held over 20 meetings in Surrey, Cloverdale and White Rock, including with business and tourism groups, RCMP, chambers of commerce, business improvement associations, community service groups and the public.

On Nov. 7, over 350 people attended Gateway Casinos’ information session and almost half completed a feedback questionnaire. Around half of the comments were positive while the remaining responses were divided between people who were opposed and those who were neutral, but had further questions.

There is a misconception the proposed casino will lead to an increase in crime and problem gambling.  An independent impact study initiated by the province was conducted between 2004 and 2006 to assess the impacts of gambling before, during and after a gaming facility was opened. Included in the study were Vancouver, the City and Township of Langley, and Surrey, where slot machines and table games were added to Fraser Downs in 2004.

In each of the communities, the study found no significant increase in rates of crime or problem gambling.

A separate study conducted by the province shows that over the last 10 years, the percentage of adults in B.C. who are at risk of becoming problem gamblers has stayed the same at 4.6 per cent. Both studies are available at www.pssg.gov.bc.ca

This proposal is a major investment which, if approved, will offer substantial economic benefits. It will provide 500 full-time jobs, 1,200 jobs during construction, and generate revenues for governments and community organizations, all while giving people access to great new amenities.

For more information on the proposal itself, visit bclc.com and southsurreyentertainment.com.

 

Jim Lightbody, Vice-president

Casinos and Community Gaming Centres

B.C. Lottery Corporation

 

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