South Surrey Casino Plans Revealed
The Vice President of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Jim Lightbody, met up with local stakeholders and business leaders in South Surrey to discuss how a proposed new casino will affect the area.
Locals are particularly concerned with how the new casino will affect Fraser Downs, the only other existing casino in the area.
Lightbody rolled out plans for the new casino, saying that it would be part of a larger entertainment complex that would bring many economic benefits to South Surrey.
"It's going to have live entertainment, a conference centre that will hold up to 1,000 people, a four star hotel with more than 190 rooms in it," said Lightbody.
"It will also have four restaurants in it, everything from ethnic foods to high end sit down restaurants, a casino floor similar in size to that of Fraser Downs and parking for up to 1,200 vehicles."
Plans to Keep Fraser Downs Running
The BCLC said that the new casino in South Surrey would complement the services offered at Fraser Downs and there were no plans to close the existing casino there.
The idea is to market the two facilities to different clients by offering different types of gambling services.
Fraser Downs, said Lightbody, would appeal more to sports fans, with plans to add a sportsbook on the premises, while the South Surrey casino would be more of a live entertainment venue.
"This will allow consumers who are sports fans to come to Fraser Downs and experience a sports event like never before," said Lightbody.
The VP also referred to MP Joe Comartin's proposal to amend the criminal code to allow gambling on a single sports event, which is currently making its way through the legal channels.
"There's also going to be a major change that will allow consumers to bet differently than they are now, so they will be able to bet on single events rather than multiple events right now," said Lightbody.
New Casino by 2014
While the new South Surrey casino plans are still in their beginning stages, VP Lightbody said that the new facility should be open by 2014, as long as there was cooperation with city partners.
However, not everyone has warmed to the idea. The Cloverdale Business Association asked why Fraser Downs couldn't simply be expanded to include the type of live entertainment the BCLC is proposing for the new casino complex.
Fraser Downs is one of the largest employers in the area and local businesses are afraid that a new casino would see the end of the existing casino.
However, Lightbody calmed these fears by saying: "It doesn't work if it just cannibalizes Fraser Downs. We wouldn't even consider that if it was just going to move the business we enjoy here to South Surrey. The critical part of this plan is to sustain and maintain the strong business that we have here in Fraser Downs."