George Harvie says that as mayor he would use casino revenue to support addiction services while also advocating for cashless gaming to help stop money laundering.
In a press release issued Tuesday morning, Harvie said that if he’s elected mayor in October, he will invest the money the city gets from the new casino to provide “local programs and addiction services.”
“I’ve spoken with families experiencing substance use and mental health challenges in our community, and I’ve heard that many of them feel alone in getting the help they need,” Harvie said in the press release. “That’s got to change, and our plan will provide assistance to Delta’s many community service organizations to better support those in desperate need.”
Last month, Delta council approved Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd.’s proposal to build a new casino at the site of the Delta Town & Country Inn. Once it’s up and running, the facility is expected to bring $1.5 to $3 million of new annual revenue the City of Delta. The project is now before the B.C. Lottery Corporation for final approval, which is expected later this year.
The project’s approval came about a month after the provincial government released a 247-page report called Dirty Money. Authored by former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German, the report examined the issue of money laundering in B.C. casinos and provided 48 recommendations to eradicate the problem.
Harvie said that as mayor he would “lead the charge” to keep dirty money out of gambling establishments.
“It’s high time for municipalities to demonstrate leadership on this issue,” Harvie said. “As mayor, I will present for council approval a motion requesting the Attorney General to work with the Union of B.C. Municipalities to implement a system for cashless casinos.”
He cited New Zealand as a successful example of a jurisdiction that has moved towards cashless casinos, offering card-based and ticket-based options for responsible gambling.
“I think Delta should be at the forefront of initiating a systematic change that would virtually end money laundering in our casinos. There’s simply no place for that here in Delta or in our province, and as mayor I will always fight to ensure the utmost safety of our community,” Harvie said.
The civic election takes place on Oct. 20, 2018.
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