Money Laundering, Traffic and Tennis – Opposition for the Proposed Delta Casino
A hearing for the new Delta Casino took place on May 2, with no result released as yet. We are looking at the opposition for the new casino proposal in Ladner.
Biggest Opposition to New Casino Proposal in Ladner
A hearing took place on May 2nd, 2018, about the proposed Delta Casino with no result released yet. In this article, we are looking at the biggest opposition for the new casino proposal in Ladner as Gateway looks to relocate Surrey Newtown Community Gaming Centre. We are looking at high roller money laundering, traffic management plans, and the Ladner Tennis Club.
The proposal for the new casino has been in the works for over a year now. In November 2016, the BCLC announced that Delta would become the home of the new casino south of the Fraser River. This is part of a relocation and expansion of Surrey’s Newtown Community Gaming Centre. The B.C. Lottery Corporation controls land-based casinos in British Columbia as well as the legal online casino market in BC. In September 2017, the Town & Country Inn site was given preliminary approval for it to become the site of the new proposed casino. Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. Then submitted an application to rezone the property in November 2017.
Between November 2017 and February 2018, the City of Delta and Gateway Casinos held a number of public information meeting to gather feedback from the community. Approximately 425 people attended these meetings and many had concerns. Below we have information on the biggest oppositions to this new casino.
Traffic Management for New Delta Casino
Many people opposing the new Delta casino are concerned about potential traffic problems. A traffic impact study found that the current roads would be able to accommodate casino and hotel traffic, stating that the increase in traffic would mostly occur outside of peak hours. The proposed site is at the junctions of highways 17A and 99 in Ladner. The Ladner casino and hotel complex will comprise of 116 rooms and will include restaurants, meeting spaces, and more. It has been stated by the police that there may be traffic on the highways but that the inner roads will be free of this influx of traffic.
Many of the residents of Delta were concerned about increase in crime and money laundering and the impact this would have on residents in the surrounding area. The proposed casino is said to be modest sized and would begin with just 500 slot machines as well as 24 gaming tables and up to six e-tables. This would then be reviewed after six months.
Crime has been one of the biggest issues for those opposing the Delta Casino. Last year Richmond Casino, operated by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, was exposed as being implicate in high-roller money laundering. The BCLC have already implemented interim recommendations to prevent this and casino patrons are required to complete a source of funds declaration for cash deposits over $10,000. All chip transactions using cash and bank drafts over $10,000 a day must include a receipt that shows the financial institution and account from which the money was obtained.
Delta police chief, Neil Dubord has stated that the RCMP’s integrated illicit gambling team has a good handle on things when it comes to organized crime trying to launder money and he feels the major concern in Delta will be the traffic problem.
Ladner Tennis Club
Significant concerns were raised by Delta residents about the loss of their indoor tennis courts at the Town & Country Inn site. A number of citizens wrote letters to the city about the potential loss of the courts and the impact it would have on the tennis community in Delta and Surrey. It was proposed the city make it part of the agreement that Gateway Casinos must provide a community amenity contribution to replace the tennis facility.
Gateway’s plans don’t include a replacement for the tennis bubble and that is to be demolished along with the existing hotel. There are four tennis clubs in Delta. The Town & Country Tennis Club, Ladner Tennis Club, Tsawwassen Tennis Club, and Sunshine Hills Tennis Club. All four made a representation identifying the importance of indoor tennis to Delta. They suggested that as part of the rezoning application, a community amenity contribution should be made to the city to replace the Town & Country indoor tennis facility. The Town & Country hosts a number of competitions and tournaments for everyone and indoor tennis facilities are needed to schedule leagues, tournaments, and lessons.
The city of Richmond is also strongly opposed to a casino being developed so close to city borders. Richmond is home to another big gambling facility operated by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and they don’t want another casino south of Fraser. They are opposed to the Delta casino as it will eat into the revenue from the already existing River Rock Casino. The Semiahmoo First Nation also wrote to Delta to state their opposition to this project. The Semiahmoo maintain they have aboriginal right and title to their traditional territory and oppose the development of any gaming facilities within their traditional territory without consultation.
Another issued that has been raised in opposition is whether the casino would see the money currently spent in the community being funnelled into gambling and also whether having a casino would impact vulnerable people such as seniors and problem gamblers. The first and second readings for the Delta Casino proposal were unanimously approved by council on the 9th of April, but staff were requested to look into a number of things including safety along the Millennium Trail in Ladner, a potential tennis facility, updated crime statistics around casinos, potential new jobs, and where gaming revenues could go in the municipality.
The public hearing took place on May 1 and the results of the council is still awaited. If the proposal passes its third reading, the application for the new Delta Casino will then be referred to BCLC and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval. If it is approved, it will then go back to the city for final consideration and adoption. This could mean it will be June before we hear anything definite. Gateway hopes to begin construction of the $70 million casino hotel in the fall and it is hoped this new casino in Ladner will be open by 2020.