- BC Games
Grand Villa Casino seeks more slots
Operators of the Grand Villa Casino want to boost the number of slot machines there by 20 per cent, from 1,000 to 1,200.
It's a move that will require rezoning approval from Burnaby city hall.
The property at 4320 and 4331 Dominion St. and 4405 Norfolk St. includes the two-storey casino and the 23-storey, 200-room Delta Burnaby hotel complex which includes three restaurants and a parkade.
Over the years a succession of rezoning approvals have led to an increasing number of slots—300 in 1999, 700 in 2004 and in 2005, the current 1,000, said a city staff report.
The current development opened in 2008 and includes a 64,500-square-foot gaming area, a maximum 1,000 slot machines, 86 gaming tables and an entertainment lounge.
Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited wants to increase the number of slots to 1,200 within the existing approved gaming area through an adjustment of its layout, the report said.
The B.C. Lottery Corporation has written to city hall saying it has reviewed the demand for gaming in Burnaby "and has determined that the Grand Villa Casino could support the proposed increase in slot machines."
Burnaby Coun. Paul McDonell, chair of the city's social issues committee, doesn't see any problems posed by the application.
"We haven't had any problem with them down there, there hasn't been any incidents with the police, they've been a model business for us, actually," McDonell said.
The casino also generates about $9 million a year for Burnaby city hall, its share of the gaming revenues, which is used for certain types of one-time projects, reducing the need to dip into taxpayers' dollars, he said.
The Burnaby casino is the second-highest-grossing in the region after the River Rock Casino in Richmond, he noted.
"People are gambling whether we like it or not … It's like prohibition. If you try to stop it it just goes underground. Here it wouldn't go underground, it'd just go to a place where they can get it because there's so much of it going on around the province."
McDonell noted the casino is not in a residential area but rather an industrial area near the Trans Canada Highway.
And there will always be a potential for people to become gambling addicts, he said.
"Do we ban liquor stores because some people are alcoholics? Probably 99 per cent of people who drink, drink sensibly and 99 per cent of people who gamble, gamble for entertainment."
If it gets the go-ahead from Burnaby council, city planning staff will work with the applicant to create a development plan to be presented at a future public hearing.