Harvie wants to see Delta casino go cashless

Move aimed to reduce money laundering

The new Cascades Casino Delta will be cashless if Mayor George Harvie has his way.

Delta council endorsed a staff recommendation this week to have a delegation of city officials, including Harvie, go to Ottawa to meet with key federal government officials to discuss various issues, one being the need to make gaming facilities cashless.

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Council was told cashless casinos in other jurisdictions have have shown promise in reducing money laundering. Cashless casinos use electronic transactions to buy and redeem chips or slot play.

During the civic election campaign last year, Harvie announced a plan to invest casino revenues back into the community, while leading an effort to stop money laundering.

He said on his watch, Delta would “lead the charge” in reforming policies to keep dirty money out of B.C.’s casinos.

“It’s high time for municipalities to demonstrate leadership on this issue. 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,” said Harvie during the campaign.

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.

The B.C. Lottery Corporation gave final approval late last year to Cascades Casino Delta, a $70-million casino/hotel complex to be constructed at the site of the former Delta Town & Country Inn at the junction of highways 17A and 99. The provincial Ministry of Transportation, which is reviewing the proposed highway access, still needs to sign off on the project.

A report to council states that once approval is received and a municipal building permit issued, construction could begin in early 2019 with an opening sometime in 2020.

As far as the delegation, it will be in Ottawa from Feb. 25 to 28, a trip that will cost around $20,000. Delta has sent such delegations to Ottawa for the past number of years.

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