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Victoria’s Mayor Withdraws Support for Downtown Casino

Victoria’s Mayor, Lisa Helps stated that the city of Victoria should withdraw the support it gave for a new casino in downtown. The reason behind the withdrawal of the support is the recent revelation that indicated the vast amount of money laundering in the gaming industry of British Columbia. There have also been possible gang links to Fentanyl drug trafficking. As for the motion that went to councilors last week, Lisa Helps is going to write to the British Columbia Lottery Corp showing that the city no longer wants to host the new downtown casino.

Lisa Helps Explains Why She No Longer Supports Victoria Downtown Casino

Lisa Helps stated that she was already feeling lukewarm regarding the new casino in the city of Victoria, in the first place. She also added that the council of Victoria only supported the notion of the downtown casino if it was going to come with a different facility, like a hotel, and therefore, a stand-alone gambling venue was never going to happen. She made it clear that she was open to it, and the proposition was advancing, but now, there is a lot of Fentanyl trafficking, money laundering and organized crime, and these are things that they certainly do not want to be in their city.

View Royal is the only place in the region that hosts a casino. The Mayor of View Royal, David Screech, stated that the Elements Casino has been nothing but an excellent corporate citizen from their perspective and that they haven’t had any problems with the casino since its establishment.  On the other hand, the mayor stated that he appreciates the concerns and that these concerns are valid and everybody needs to be vigilant when it comes to money-laundering and drug trafficking. He added that although these concerns are legitimate, he believes that some ways and measures can be put in place to take care of these concerns.

In the report that Lisa Helps sent to the councilors, she stated that the province takes money laundering and crime links seriously. She added that the information regarding these issues arose following the council’s option back in 2015, and this information changed the landscape of Victoria, regarding its willingness to have a Downtown casino.

Why Municipalities Host Casinos

Gambling venues and casinos can be quite lucrative for the municipalities that host them, as they get a percentage of the revenues of the casino, in addition to other costs including policing and licensing. For instance, when it comes to the case of View Royal Casino, there are more than four million dollars a year that seven west shore municipalities share and Two Nations pocketed more than $2.3m. These numbers will vary when it comes to Victoria casino, as the gambling venue is much smaller than the one at View Royal. David Screech stated that while the municipality used a lot of the revenues from the casino for operations, it primarily used it for capital projects for the city. He added that they are very grateful to host the casino in West Shore and that the revenue does a lot for the community.

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