12/09/2013 09:06 EST | Updated 02/08/2014 05:59 EST

Anti-casino group petitions city to review plans

An anti-casino coalition has launched a petition urging Vancouver City Council to review plans for a new $535 million casino next to BC Place stadium.

According to a petition posted on the Vancouver Not Vegas website, the new casino's proposal is scheduled to go before the city's Development Permit Board for approval on Dec. 16. If it passes there, the group says construction can start as early as Christmas.

The petition calls for the plan to be referred from the Development Permit Board back to city council for further review.

It also refers to a recent study conducted by B.C. medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall that found the number of severely-addicted gamblers in British Columbia has more than doubled while the provincial government has taken in billions in gaming revenue.

Kendall called for more government investment in gambling prevention and treatment programs.

'Urban resort'

Paragon Development Ltd. laid out its plans for a new $535 million casino next to BC Place Stadium in October.

The 675,000-square-foot development features two hotels, a conference centre, restaurants, retail outlets and a new home for the existing Edgewater casino which features 600 slot machines and 75 gaming tables.

Two years ago, city council rejected Paragon's proposal for a larger casino, which included as many as 1,500 slot machines and 150 gaming tables.

Developers are hoping the new casino proposal will be approved by the city and be open for business in 2016.

As of Monday morning 187 people had signed the petition.