Westrock County in favor of Camrose casino relocation

Westlock County in Alberta has also weighed in on the topic of the proposed relocation of Camrose Resort Casino by Capital City Casinos. The community expressed its support for the move and is urging the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission to change its mind and allow the company to relocate its gaming activities to South Edmonton.

Previously, the AGLC said no to the requested move to Edmonton. However, the owner explains that even if the property moves, it will still operate in the rural pool for charities. In the province, organizations are connected to casinos in their area and rural organizations are assigned to casinos which are outside the two main cities. Therefore, they receive less funding from gambling.

  • Letter to the AGLC

At a recent meeting, Westlock County councillors voted 7-0 to send a letter to the AGLC, which will be just before a May 10 appeal of the September 2021 decision to reject the relocation. Councillors will forward the letter to Finance Minister Travis Toews, area MLAs Glenn van Dijken and Shane Getson, the Town of Westlock and municipalities within the Pembina Zone of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta.

Councillors do find the casino’s physical location an issue, as they want to create an equitable provincial gaming model. During a presentation, county inter-governmental advisor, Jared Shaigec, reminded that previous reports by RMA and AGLC found a significant advantage for urban charities in terms of wait time for funds and numbers in revenue.

CAO Tony Kulbisky commented that there were a number of organizations in the county which are reliant on casinos to be able to function and exist. He noted that if there was inequity and long wait time, it was obligatory for the council to put a position forward to let local organizations know that it was important and the council was acknowledging their concerns.

Meanwhile, Counc. Jared Stitsen said the letter was something the council need to do, as gambling revenue was vital for local community halls and funded a variety of groups in the area. According to RMA, St. Albert and Camrose produce the lowest per-event revenue while also having the longest wait times for non-profits to get casino dates in the province.

In February 2023, Woodlands County also expressed its support for the relocation. Community services coordinator Heather Anderson commented that the AGLC’s decision will greatly impact the county’s non-profit organizations, as many of them a hugely reliant on casino revenue for funding. She also cited the long wait times as one of the reasons for the backing.

  • Open House

Additionally at the end of last month, New Star Capital hosted a two-day open house to discuss the topic of relocation. During the event, the company claimed that four of the five points of the AGLC’s rejection go against the regulator’s information. The operator is hopeful that it will gain more support for the relocation, and send letters to the regulator.

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