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Casino not in cards, TFN says

Hotel could be added to shopping-entertainment complex, but gambling has previously been rejected

The Tsawwassen First Nation isn't planning to add a casino to its destination shopping centre.

That's what TFN Economic Development Corporation CEO Chris Hartman and TFN CAO Doug Raines stressed when asked about the possibility a casino would be built with the major retail development planned for 180 acres just off Highway 17.

Both said there's currently no plan to add gambling and that a casino isn't needed to make the retail development viable.

Hartman said the project can accommodate a potential hotel but the scope of that hotel hasn't been determined as of yet, or even if one will be built.

"It's a use we have made sure there is an opportunity for. We've had really preliminary conversations about a hotel, but not with any operators or flags at this point. But we do see that a hotel could benefit from this project and vice versa."

He said a casino hasn't been considered as part of a hotel.

"The hotel works on this site because of the surrounding uses," Hartman added.

Noting a casino company hasn't approached the TFN, Hartman said the surrounding areas of Delta offer tremendous opportunities for eco-tourism that could be explored.

Raines noted the executive council of the TFN has indicated it's not interested in a casino. He said three years ago, before the TFN's treaty was finalized, a proposal by a casino company had come forward but was rejected.

Hartman noted the TFN was not involved in a plan by B.C. First Nations to set up a gambling authority.

A resolution endorsed at the June 2010 B.C.

Assembly of First Nations annual general meeting states: "First Nations are in a period of Nation building or Nation re-building and have the inherent right to self-government including jurisdiction over gaming..."

The B.C. First Nations Gaming Commission would see large-scale gaming operations focused on urban centres to break the provincial government's gaming monopoly.

B.C.'s only First Nationsrun casino is the Casino of the Rockies in Cranbrook.

The B.C. government controls all commercial gambling operations under the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

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