The B.C. Lottery Corporation has chosen Delta as its preferred location for a new casino south of the Fraser River.
On Nov. 9, the BCLC announced the Corporation of Delta as its preferred host local government for a potential new gambling and entertainment facility, selecting Delta based on a variety of factors including strong market potential, community plans and transportation access.
The potential casino would be a relocation of Surrey’s Newton Community Gaming Centre and would be expanded to include more gambling and entertainment options. Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd., the private-sector service provider of the Newton Community Gaming Centre, would own or lease the new facility on BCLC’s behalf, and operate it on a day-to-day basis.
In early June the BCLC asked local governments south of the Fraser to submit expressions of interest in hosting a potential gambling and entertainment facility. Delta and the Tsawwassen First Nation both threw their hats in the ring, while the City of Surrey declined.
On June 27, Delta council voted unanimously to submit a non-binding expression of interest for a gaming facility in the municipality. At the time, municipal staff identified the 11-acre Delta Town & Country Inn property at the intersection of Hwy. 99 and Hwy. 17A/62b St. as the only location they would support for development of a gaming facility and entertainment complex.
“It’s isolated, it’s not near schools, it’s not in the communities [and] people won’t be driving there through communities,” George Harvie, Delta’s chief administrative officer, told council. “The area’s sited for upgrades with the new [bridge] coming in, so to us it’s a perfect site.”
Ron Toigo of Shato Holdings Ltd., the owner of the Delta Town & Country Inn, expressed support for the corporation considering the property for the site of a new gaming facility and entertainment complex in a letter to the mayor dated June 16.
However, the BCLC’s announcement on Wednesday said that the Delta Town and Country Inn “is not a suitable location due to its distance from the identified market opportunity and its proximity to the River Rock Casino Resort,” adding it will work with Gateway to “determine a more suitable location that, combined with size and scope details, will form a gaming facility proposal for Delta’s consideration.”
The announcement also said the BCLC respects the authority of local governments to choose whether they want a gambling facility in their community and will only consider pursuing development in communities where local governments indicate interest.
According to a BCLC background document, a new gaming facility in the region could generate between $25 million and $50 million in incremental revenue. Host local governments would receive 10 per cent of net gaming income in their communities, meaning a casino could bring the Corporation of Delta about $1.5 million to $3 million per year.