RAV Death Won't Kill Casino
Great Canadian Gaming Corp. has claimed that the recent defeat of the Richmond/Airport/ Vancouver Rapid Transit project will not cause any serious problems for the company's most ambitious development.
On June 25, the casino component of the River Rock Casino Resort will open at 8811 River Road, site of the former Bridgepoint Public Market.
Great Canadian's project will eventually include a 225-room hotel, six or seven restaurants, a 1,000-seat theatre, a show lounge, and up to 950 slot machines plus 75 table games in a 70,000-square foot casino.
River Rock Casino Resort was to be right across the street from one of the RAV line's busiest transit hubs.
However, as a result of the TransLink board's decision on May 7 to kill the RAV line, the Bridgeport station may never be built. The station was going to be the terminus for four local Richmond bus routes and 12 suburban express routes. There was also going to be a park-and-ride lot for 1,100 vehicles.
RAVCo, the TransLink subsidiary that was going to oversee the development of the line, forecast that 13,600 passengers per day would go in and out of the Bridgeport station.
Great Canadian Gaming Corp. spokesperson Howard Blank told the Straight that the company wasn't relying on the RAV line for the River Rock Casino Resort project to succeed financially. He said the resort will cost more than $100 million to develop.
"The RAV line obviously would be a great addition," Blank said. "Rapid-bus lanes are great, but when you become a cosmopolitan city you really need transit from your airport."
It's unclear how much money the British Columbia Lottery Corporation will fail to generate from slot machines if there isn't a RAV line and more than a dozen bus routes delivering gamblers to the site.
Meanwhile, on May 10 Richmond city council voted to support Great Canadian's application for a new liquor licence for the entire site.
"This is the first blanket liquor licence that we've applied for," Blank said, noting that alcohol can only be served inside the company's restaurants at its Coquitlam and View Royal casino locations.
On May 11, Great Canadian Gaming Corp. stock closed at $28.50 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, up almost 300 percent from its 52-week low of $9.80.
The company is a member of the Vancouver Board of Trade. On April 8, the board's chairman, Jeff Dowle, wrote a letter to Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell and all city councillors urging them to "give favourable consideration" to Great Canadian's plan to introduce 600 to 900 slot machines at the racetrack at Hastings Park.