Port Moody Calls for Review of Casino Revenue-Sharing Model

The City of Port Moody is lobbying for the Province of British Columbia to revisit its casino revenue-sharing model. This was voted by the city council on February 28, 2023, and Counc. Samantha Agtarap’s resolution will be sent to the Local Government Association’s annual conference in May 2023. If successful, the sharing model will bring in more revenue to the region.

The city’s new resolution claims that the current gaming model unfairly benefits host communities of casinos, while social costs are applied to the whole region. Meanwhile, cities that host casinos have pocketed over CA$1.5 billion from casino revenue since 1999, and currently take 10% of the province’s net revenue from legal gambling.

Should be Split Evenly

Commenting on the new resolution, Ms. Agtarap noted that casino proceeds are not shared amongst neighbouring governments but instead it is split by the seven host communities. She added that residents from all communities, access and use amenities across the region, ranging from hospitals to casinos, and therefore gambling revenue should be split in an equitable manner.

For instance, the Metro Vancouver municipalities of Coquitlam, Burnaby, Langley, New Westminster, Surrey, Richmond and Vancouver have bagged over CA$40 million in 2022 FY. They also benefit from property taxes, employment, and tourism with almost no drawbacks. The current model is intended to offset infrastructure and social service costs, but those have been minimal.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation provides gaming proceeds via community and program grants across the province, but they are not guaranteed, and non-profits must apply for them and be accepted. Port Moody’s resolution states that the arrangement seems inherently unfair to communities that are not hosts to gaming facilities, which is the case for the city.

Additionally, the resolution argued that the city which is home to the Eagle Ridge Hospital which serves all the Tri-Cities but receives no further revenue. It also noted that host communities receive money in a non-proportionate manner to their population. For instance, Richmond received 27% of the region’s gaming revenue with only 8% of the total population.

The resolution proposes two options for a solution. The first would be to pool the gaming revenue from the Lower Mainland and distribute it on a per capita basis. Meanwhile, the second would be to follow the region model of View Royal, where 55% of the region’s gaming revenue is distributed to other Metro Vancouver communities. Thus, bringing around CA$270,000 to Port Moody annually.

Delivering Provincial Benefit

B.C.’s casinos are used to provide major economic benefits to the province and its people. One of those gaming properties is Treasure Cove Casino, which in financial 2021-2022 delivered almost CA$44 million in revenue for its host community, Prince George’s. It generated CA$40.6 million from its slot games while table games and bingo contributed CA$1.1 million and CA$2.1 million.

Also in 2022, the casino property was looking into expanding its liquor offerings on its premises. The establishment sent a request to the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to liquor service across its bingo area and its second floor. This way it would expand to liquor services occupancy from 2,016 to 3,004 patrons.

Source: “Port Moody calling on other municipalities to share casino cash Yahoo News, March 15, 2023

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Yolina has followed closely the latest development on the Canadian gaming scene over the past years, monitoring the land-based, lottery, and online offerings up for grabs. The dynamic nature of the local lottery and casino fields, as well as the opportunities lying ahead of Canada fire her enthusiasm for what is to come. A sports betting enthusiast, in her spare time Yolina could be found in her natural habitat – turning the pages of biographies and catching up on the latest stand-up comedy podcasts.