Vancouver city council has voted unanimously to reject a proposal to expand Edgewater Casino.
At a council debate today on the proposed casino complex, Mayor Gregor Robertson introduced an amended set of recommendations that called for council to refuse any increase in gambling opportunities there. All councillors supported the motion.
Council also supported Robertson's recommendation to impose a moratorium on "any and all applications to expand gambling and/or gaming venues in the City of Vancouver," until the B.C. Lottery Corporation undertakes a comprehensive public consultation on the issue.
"After hearing all sides of the issue and weighing the options, I personally do not believe the expansion of gambling is the right direction for the future of Vancouver," said Robertson.
Council did vote to allow the relocation of Edgewater Casino.
In advance of the decision, many councillors spoke to concerns about the expansion of gambling.
Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs said it's clear a casino the size Paragon Gaming proposed next to B.C. Place "is not how the people of Vancouver see their city".
While NPA councillor Suzanne Anton voted in favour of the motion, she said she would have supported the casino expansion.
Council's move was applauded by Vancouver, Not Vegas, a coalition that formed in opposition to gambling expansion in the city.
Sandy Garossino, spokesperson for the coalition, said she was "very, very happy" with council's decision.
"This city has already gone through enormous public debate and turmoil over gambling," Garossino told reporters.
"I think it is really time, not only in the City of Vancouver but also in the province of British Columbia, for us all to look at what is the proper role of casinos and lottery revenue in the province, and in the cities," she added. "To what extent are we relying on addiction?"
David Podmore said the B.C. Pavilion Corporation needs to take time to study the resolution that council approved before determining the next step.
Paragon Gaming president Scott Menke echoed the need to examine the motion, and wouldn't say whether the company will consider moving Edgewater at its current size to the proposed B.C. Place location.
"We're certainly disappointed in today's outcome, but we stand committed to our employees and the supporters in our efforts to find a permanent destination in the Lower Mainland," he told reporters.
"We will do everything possible to stay committed to not only our vision in the community, to our employees, and most importantly the viability of working with the community."
The proposed $500-million casino/hotel complex, which would have been the largest in western Canada, included two hotels, restaurants and bars, and 1,500 slot machines.