South Surrey Reviews Gaming Construction Options reports Daily Free Slots
Some local residents would rather housing initiatives over gaming facility
Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited is been allowed to redevelop a Newton Square Bingo Hall within a community gaming center, according to the corporate report approved by the council in during the fall of 2012.
The report noted that if the South Surrey proposition was not approved, gateway would redevelop the current hall and construct a gaming facility with 150 slot machines. Gateway had originally planned to move the hall's gaming license to the South Surrey casino, pending council's approval of that facility.
"I think that it's very important not to have a gaming center in a vulnerable community," said Coun. Barinder Rasode of the redevelopment, citing concerns with low-income areas of the neighborhood. "For me, ideally, if there was no gaming in the city, I'd be very happy, but that's not our decision to make, the province makes that."
Rasode had opposed the addition of the slot machines at the hall, though they had been approved by the council in October of last year. He had done so on the basis that the machines would be installed for a modest 18-month run. However, if they are made permanent by Gateway's choosing, the opposition will be lifted.
BCLC vice president Jim Lightbody has stated that a lottery corporation will not pursue gaming opportunities within Surrey after a 5-4 nay vote against the casino was cast. Coun. Linda Hepner is still confident Gateway will take the city up on the recent report.
"They got a temporary approval (for the slots) for 18 months," said Hepner. "When that runs out, they will no doubt have done their redevelopment of that building site. That's what they must do in order to have the slots there."
Long-time Newton resident Doug Elford, who opposed the influx of machines is still not thrilled regarding the prospect of keeping the slots around.
"It sounds like we don't really have much of a choice now," said Elford. "We're going to have to live with the spinoff effects of penny slots in the neighborhood."
Elford noted he would want to see more low-income housing initiatives rather than another gaming facility instituted.
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