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More compelling reasons not to bank on casino revenue

The revelations by the CBC of money-laundering in certain casinos and the increasing opposition to the humungous apparition in downtown Vancouver led to a contact with Howard Stutz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  Stutz  reveals that Diana Bennett, one of the partners in Paragon Gaming, learned her gaming skills watching her father, gaming pioneer William Bennett, expand his empire from Circus Circus, the Excalibur and Luxor into the Mandalay Resort Group and build a billion dollar casino business.

The mere mention of the name Circus Circus conjures up the image of Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack, and organized crime in Vegas in the ‘70’s.

Paragon, a privately held company owned by Bennett and long-time Circus Circus executive, began with a management deal with the  Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians in the Palm Springs area. It has since been revealed that this band consisted of one person.

Next came two Canadian developments with First Nations, the first being in participation with the River Cree, on the western edge of Edmonton, Alberta. This project includes a 255-room hotel, a 62,200 square-foot casino with 600 slot machines and 40 table games, plus dining, entertainments venues and two hockey rinks. The second development, in Whitecourt, Alberta, has 250 slots, 11 table games and a full-service truck stop.

Paragon currently runs the Edgewater Casino in Vancouver, BC, a facility boasting 493 slot machines and 75 gaming tables.  In March 2010 the company won the rights to construct an estimated $450 million hotel-casino next to BC Place in Vancouver, BC which is destined to become Western Canada’s largest gaming and entertainment resort.

 Or not.

Local residents are becoming increasing aware that the project calls for a 680,000 square-foot entertainment complex with 1500 slots, 150 tables, and two hotels. The architectural design appears to have arrived from some other reality.  More disturbing are the two vestibules connecting to BC Place. One at the second level, and one at the fourth leading directly from the high limit gaming area and into the stadium’s planned luxury boxes.

Some other facts that need attention: CNN recently presented a documentary on the selling of young girls, "Selling the girl next door."  Girls bought and sold online.  Reporters visited several locales, including the strip in Las Vegas.  Pimps reported earnings of  $150,000 to $500,000 per year. The girls, some as young as 13, were virtual prisoners.

Does Vancouver have sufficient funds in its police budget to deal with this, or any place to house rescued girls?

The video below openly touts prostitution.  But is this woman in the clutches of her pimp,  a victim  of human trafficking, or is she acting out of free will?

Promoters are suggesting this venue will attract gamblers from China. Revenues in Macau were up 66% in December 2010.

This seems doubtful. Why bother with a long plane flight? Of course, gambling is controlled by the organized crime triads in Macau. Could that happen here?

Recently the employees at Edgewater appeared at a press conference wearing matching blue T-shirts and claiming anxiety over potential job loss.  Nonsense. The Edgewater will simply renew its present lease if their attempt at this audacity fails.

 In Las Vegas there are 24-hour help lines for problem gamblers. What will it cost to install these here?


 Yay! A player wins big.

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