No help for lost revenue
A large hole has been left in Vernon’s money intake this year, and a proposal to help fill it got rejected.
The Union of BC Municipalities declined the city’s proposal to funnel online gaming revenues to communities in lieu of lost casino and bingo revenues. Vernon brought this forth to the union on behalf of all communities in the province who have casinos and have lost a significant amount of money.
“We think this is a really good idea and I can imagine we would get support from other municipalities,” says Mayor Victor Cumming. “The complexity is that the province has not been prepared to redistribute, and any attempt in the past they have just said no.”
The City of Vernon consistently receives approximately $2 million each year from the Lake City Casino, but so far in 2020 they have only received $342,223. With the way things are going, it is possible casinos won’t be open for a full calendar year in 2021 either.
This means a number of city projects will be cut or put on the backburner.
“When we see the proposed budget this fall, we’ll see some projects come off the list,” says Cumming. “They will have to come off because they won’t be able to be funded by gaming revenue.”
Cumming remains hopeful that the province will come around on this issue, as more and more people are turning to online gambling.
“The province sure isn’t keen about it, so I think it will be an uphill battle” says Cumming. “But it is our job to present what makes sense for us.”