Lake City Casino in Vernon provides about $2 million in revenue a year to the City of Vernon.

Lake City Casino in Vernon provides about $2 million in revenue a year to the City of Vernon.

Vernon politician pushes for more casino cash

Coun. Bob Spiers says the city should push for 10 per cent of casino gross revenue, not net revenue

A Vernon politician wants a bigger piece of the action.

Coun. Bob Spiers says the city should push for 10 per cent of the gross revenue from Lake City Casino’s local operation instead of the current 10 per cent of net revenue it receives.

“It’s a heck of a difference. We’ve been in this agreement for 15 years and it’s time to negotiate better terms,” said Spiers during Monday’s council meeting.

Presently, the city collects $2 million annually from the casino but that could climb to $3.5 million if the formula switched to gross revenue.

“There’s $34 million that goes through that casino and $2 million stays and the rest leaves the community,” said Spiers, adding that additional revenue for the city could go to affordable housing or infrastructure.

However, Spiers doesn’t expect the provincial government will change the terms of the revenue contract.

“It will probably never happen because the agreement has been in place for 15 years,” he said.

Mayor Akbal Mund isn’t sure if pursuing a cut of gross revenue from Lake City Casino is a good idea.

Mund says gross revenue includes discounts and other activities and and isn’t simply money in a company’s pockets.

“The casino does a lot of community work — charitable work. Do we penalize them for doing that?” he said.

Spiers, though, says a change in the formula would only impact the provincial government, not the casino’s bottom line.

“Any renegotiation of the rate the host city would get would come from the provincial share that they end up with,” he said.