Construction of the Salmon Arm Community Gaming Centre is set to begin in October 2013, with an estimated completion date of June 2014.
Details of plans for the gaming centre were the focus of an open house held on Thursday, June 27 at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort.
Present were representatives of the Adams Lake Indian Band, the BC Lottery Corporation and the Berezan Group.
The Adams Lake band is leasing the property – the former home of the GM dealership at 10th Street SW and the Trans-Canada Highway – to the Berezan Group, which will build and operate Chances Salmon Arm.
Fourteen Chances gaming centres are already operating in B.C., including ones in Kamloops and Kelowna. They offer slots, bingo and dining, but not table games such as blackjack or poker with live dealers.
About 25 people had visited the open house after the first three of four hours Thursday, a night that also happened to be the time for Salmon Arm Secondary’s graduation.
BCLC representatives said people visiting were generally positive.
Resident Tony Cox, who said he worked for 14 years as a games manager in casinos in Alberta, told the Observer that the plans look good, but he’ll wait and see.
“It looks impressive,” he said, adding: “I’m a little skeptical as to what Salmon Arm is going to get out of it in the long run.”
The Berezan Group, however, which will be responsible for all operational requirements of Chances Salmon Arm, states in its promotional material that it “will create high-quality local jobs, both during construction and operation.
“Berezan will be involved in the wider Salmon Arm community, including hiring local trades and First Nations.”
Berezan states it is a private company that develops and constructs commercial and residential buildings in B.C. and Alberta, including office, retail, recreation, pubs and gaming facilities.
BCLC currently partners with three First Nations bands: the Ktunaxa Nation for the Casino of the Rockies outside Cranbrook, the Cowichan Indian Band and the Squamish Nation.
As the host local government, the bands receive a share of net income for hosting the facilities.
BCLC notes that its marketplace assessment indicated there is demand to support a gaming centre in Salmon Arm.
Part of BCLC’s promotional material lists gaming revenue granted to community organizations in 2011/2012.
During that period, 34 community organizations based in Salmon Arm shared $617,985 in gaming grants.