The Vancouver City Council was informed by a medical health officer on Monday night that more than 43,000 British Columbians suffer from extreme cases of gambling addiction and as many as 152,000 have a moderate addiction to gambling. However, according to the researcher, Dr. John Carsley, it cannot possibly be determined whether the move proposed to expand gambling in the state will actually increase the extent of the addiction problem as not enough research is currently being done on the subjects concerning the effects of gambling. He said that from his viewpoint it was almost impossible to say where exactly Vancouver lay on the trajectory of problem gambling.
Vancouver Costal Health Authority’s medical health officer, Carsley made these public comments on the third day of a public hearing on whether the expansion of the Edgewater Casino in the downtown Vancouver should be allowed by the city or not. Carsley, accompanied by the chief medical officer, Dr. Patricia Daly, said that the beliefs of the health authority said that there was risk in expanding the casinos unless there are enough studies which show that the problem of gambling addiction won’t rise after the expansion. In excess of 200 people have signed their names to address the council on Paragon Gaming’s development application.
The owners of Edgewater Casino, Paragon Gaming, already possess a casino license for the area of the Plaza of Nations which gives it the permission to run 75 tables and 600 slot machines. However, it has also proposed a hotel and casino complex in the BC Place Stadium which will be worth $500 million and will include a gambling floor which houses 150 gambling tables and 1,500 slot machines.
BC Lottery Corp, which has a mandate to expand gambling in the area, and BC Pavilion Corp, which has given a 70 year lease to Paragon for two acres at the west end of the stadium, are backing the proposal. The employees of Edgewater Casinos were themselves the majority of speakers on Monday and they expressed their fears that in the absence of the permission to expand, the casino might have to move away or close completely.