City seeks gaming revenue increase

Council is demanding the provincial government increase the amount of gaming revenue

The City of Vernon wants a bigger piece of the action.

Council is demanding the provincial government increase the amount of gaming revenue provided to communities to make up for dwindling casino profits.

“The more it gets reduced, the less there is for infrastructure,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

Presently, the city receives 10 per cent of the net revenue from the local casino, or about $2 million a year. However, there is a concern provincial policies are negatively impacting that funding source.

“Gaming opportunities are rapidly expanding in non-traditional venues, with egaming in particular, which dilutes the potential market share for established casinos,” said Will Pearce, the city’s chief administrative officer, in a memo to council.

“Host local government share of casino revenues are based on overall casino activity.”

The city says the B.C. Lottery Corporation had a record net income of $1,107.4 million in 2011/2012, largely because of egaming, while casino and community gaming revenues in B.C. fell short by $41 million.

The city goes on to say that gaming revenue is one of the few non property tax-based sources of funding communities can use for services.

“It’s a huge source of revenue,” said Lord.

Coun. Bob Spiers believes the provincial government has a responsibility to ensure a steady revenue flow for communities.

“They have taken away a lot of our customers who now gamble online,” he said.

Spiers also points out that considerable dollars leave Vernon through gambling.

“Of the $30 million going through the casino, the city gets $2 million and the rest goes back to Victoria,” he said.

 

The city is asking the Union of B.C. Municipalities to lobby the provincial government to change the funding formula.