Vancouver, Not Vegas press release: Offering fewer slots is a sign of casino's desperation
Paragon Gaming’s offer to reduce the number of slots at its proposed mega-casino, made Sunday at Vancouver City Council after the public hearings had ended, is a cynical gambit that smacks of desperation, says Vancouver, Not Vegas!, a coalition of diverse groups and individuals that opposes the casino plan.
"It's pretty disingenuous of Paragon to try to make the offer of a few hundred fewer slot machines a game changer in this important issue," said Sandy Garossino, the coalition's spokesperson, in a press release Tuesday.
David Podmore, Chairman of B.C. Pavilion Corp. (PavCo), proposed to Council late Sunday evening the idea of reducing the number of slots to 1,200 from 1,500. Paragon would then later apply to council for an additional 300. PavCo, a B.C. Crown corporation, owns the land where the casino would be built.
"Not only have they introduced this after the public hearing sessions ended yesterday, effectively shutting out people from commenting on what is still a move towards expansion, but they are also ignoring the fact that any material change in plans must be dealt with in a new application as per British Columbia Gaming Control Act requirements," she said.
The offer of an expanded gaming facility with fewer slots does not address the many fundamental questions still left unanswered by Paragon, BCLC and PavCo about associated casino issues such as increased addictions, criminal activity, liveable neighbourhoods and the overall quality of life in Vancouver.
Lindsay Brown, a coalition co-founder who also oversees its social media, said the huge volume of feedback on the Vancouver, Not Vegas! website plus the support received by the coalition on Twitter shows that the public is extremely angered by the casino issue in general and the eleventh-hour change in particular. “I have received e-mailed letters from people whose lives have been devastated by gambling – people who normally would never get involved in an issue like this. I’ve seen tweets from people who say the last-minute changes are completely cosmetic and will have no effect. This has really mobilized Vancouverites who care about their city.”
"This is still all about what kind of Vancouver we really want", added Garossino. "Vancouver City Council needs to know that this latest "offer" is blatantly offside. We reject it.”