06/26/2013 11:32 EDT | Updated 08/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Vernon Wants Bigger Share Of Provincial Gaming Revenues


City officials in Vernon, B.C., are asking for a bigger share of provincial gaming revenues.

The city currently gets 10 per cent of the profits from a 14,000-square-foot casino, which works out to about $2 million a year.

But Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky says profits have fallen in recent years, and the city is feeling the pinch.

Last year, the B.C. Lottery Corporation reported record profits of just over $1.1 billion, but casino and community gaming revenues fell short of their targets.

"The BCLC has continued to increase their revenues by promoting online gaming at the expense of the local casinos,” Sawatzky said.

"It really is not fair that BCLC continues to increase their gross revenue and the amount that going to the communities that participate is dropping."

The city wants the Union of B.C. Municipalities to look into the issue.

“I would be very surprised if UBCM didn't support this whole-heartedly,” he said. “I know it's been a major issue. It's a major sore point with local government for quite some time.”

Sawatzky thinks the funding model needs to be renegotiated. He is calling on the UBCM to address the issue at their September meeting.

In a written statement, the BCLC says Vernon's share of casino revenues has remained relatively consistent since 2007.

"B.C. casino revenues remain stable and growing while other jurisdictions are experiencing a decline in a tough economy," the statement reads. "B.C. Lotteries Corp. will continue to monitor the performance of these facilities, but no changes to the current formula are being considered at this time."

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