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December 23, 2013

Vancouver casino granted conditional permit

SITE 10A

The $533 million casino would be located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, near B.C. Place stadium.

Paragon Gaming has been issued a preliminary permit for the construction of a proposed $535-million development in downtown Vancouver, which includes two hotel towers, restaurants, a conference centre and a new space for an existing casino.

“Today’s decision by the Development Permit Board ensures that the proponent will have to align operations with the concerns raised in the recent Provincial Health Officer’s Report on Gambling,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.

“Before a relocated casino can begin construction, the proponents have to come back with a plan that addresses the health concerns raised by Dr. Perry Kendall. If they don’t, it cannot proceed.”

Robertson has stated that he is opposed to any expansion of gambling in Vancouver. However, the city’s Development Permit Board decided on Dec. 16 to support a proposal for the construction of a new and expanded casino. The existing Edgewater Casino has a total gaming floor area of about 3,400 square meters or 36,697 square feet.

Paragon and its partners are proposing to double the gaming floor area to 72,000 square feet. As a result, the floor space will increase, but the casino’s licence will only allow the same number of slot machines (600) and table games (75).

Due to opposition of the project in 2011, the city rejected expansion of gambling from 600 to 1,200 slot machines at the proposed site next to B.C. Place Stadium.

However, opponents of the new casino plan argue this is a clear sign there will be further expansion of gambling because the casino will have more space per slot machine than in any casino in North America. Vancouver City Council has passed the building at its proposed size.

In response, Paragon argued in their preliminary application that Edgewater Casino’s current offering is more typically found in truck stops or industrial areas and is not the type of gaming experience they want to present in downtown Vancouver.

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The proposed project includes a casino, two hotels and restaurants next to B.C. Place.

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