With no set date on when the province will allow casinos to reopen, the losses are adding up for communities that benefit from the proceeds of gambling.
Elements Casino in View Royal, the capital region’s major gambling hub, has been closed for three months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but is preparing reopening plans under provincial guidelines. It sent out surveys this week asking guests on its mailing list to rank safety priorities — including entrance screenings and limiting guests and numbers of slot machines and gaming tables.
Casinos can be lucrative for local governments, as host municipalities receive 10 per cent of net gambling income. In Greater Victoria, that translates into more than $4.3 million a year, which is shared among seven West Shore municipalities and two First Nations. View Royal, with a population 10,408, gets about $2.3 million because the casino is in the town.
View Royal Mayor David Screech said Wednesday the town has already lost between $1 million and $1.5 million with the closure of Elements over the past three months. The revenue stream is only available when the casinos are operating.
“Budget-wise, it’s critical to View Royal,”