EDITORIAL: Casino struggle may end happily

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation expected to announce plans for expansion soon

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation has remained rather mum on the multi-million dollar expansion of its View Royal Casino.

Redevelopment plans for the Capital Region’s lone casino were first tossed around in 2008, just before the recession knocked the wind out of most business’ sails. But that was then and this is now. The economy has been on an upswing for the past two to three years and Great Canadian has spent money on impressive upgrades of some of its properties on the mainland.

It’s certainly up to this private company how and when it wants to spend money on upgrading its facilities. While most of us have anxiously awaited official word of the plans for the View Royal Casino, we wonder whether Great Canadian’s hands were forced by an impatient B.C. Lottery Corporation looking to up the ante – and the revenue streams – from gaming in the region.

Last week’s announcement by BCLC that the City of Victoria would be the preferred host municipality for an expansion of gaming in the region came with a proviso, which said the View Royal Casino will continue to be the primary gaming facility in Greater Victoria.

Great Canadian breathed a sigh of relief, gaining more certainty that BCLC’s plans didn’t include a large-scale casino that would likely siphon business away from View Royal. We agree with the company’s argument that such a scenario would make plans to expand in View Royal a questionable business decision.

Making the decision to move on the expansion project easier was the fact no new operation will be considered until BCLC first hears what Great Canadian has in mind.

While people on all sides seemed happy about the announcement and the potential for a bigger, brighter, more culturally diverse View Royal Casino, the whole exercise came off as an internal power struggle between Great Canadian and BCLC.

But at the end of the day, expanding the casino and the entertainment options at View Royal will allow Great Canadian to capture an even larger share of the market, regardless of what type of operation goes in downtown.

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