An Alberta casino might be on the move — and that’s not sitting well with everyone.
Edmonton residents have voiced their displeasure surrounding a proposed relocation of the Capital City Casinos-owned Camrose Casino. The parent company has already filed paperwork to Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) – the final decision-maker in the matter.
But the Alberta government agency said it will need some time – especially with the local public’s growing dissent.
The decision will come later this year and will be based on multiple factors. The AGLC’s official statement said:
“AGLC will determine if the proposed project can move forward to Step Three in the process.
“The AGLC Board will then approve or deny the relocation proposal, taking into consideration community and stakeholder input, market demand, benefits to charitable groups and impact on other charitable gaming activities in the community.”
Three-Step process needed for Camrose relocation
Camrose Casino is currently located at 3201 48 Avenue in the community southeast of the provincial capital. It’s approximately an hour away from where the proposed new location – 420 Parsons Road in Edmonton – would be.
There are three steps to the application process. Currently the application is on step three.
But many residents are already yelling foul. Under the official application process, the applicant must give public notices of its intentions to relocate to allow for community feedback.
Capital City Casinos fulfilled that requirement under AGLC’s casino terms, conditions and operating guidelines. A small notification ad was placed in local newspapers on July 29.
Community feedback deadline passes, leaves local residents baffled
But with the Aug. 10 cut-off date for objections so close to publication of the initial ad, many said there simply wasn’t enough time to spread awareness.
Global News reported local residents – such as Neil Richards – said the entire process lacked transparency.
“Nobody was told anything about this that I’m aware of. I know I wasn’t and anybody I’ve been in contact with said they never heard of such a thing.
“It’s like it was trying to be put in under the radar.”
Fears of traffic bottleneck, suitable roads
Per CTV Edmonton, traffic was noted as one major concern. For starters, the proposed location – Parsons Road – is already notorious among Edmontonians as a ‘traffic nightmare.’ The location features a narrow, two-lane road on both sides.
Add in a casino and a potential bottleneck crisis could be on hand.
Casino relocation could cost $6.7M loss to Edmonton charities
Then there’s the charities.
Rural charities will received additional funding from the new facility, said an AGLC market analysis. The only problem is those charities will all be in Camrose.
Because the new casino would still have a rural license, Edmonton charities aren’t eligible to operate at the location. That means all the cash flows back to Camrose charities.
The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL), via an open letter, said roughly $6.7 million could be at stake.
“The proposal could mean a new casino will open that will potentially remove millions from Edmonton residents playing in that casino and redistribute it to the Camrose-area charities.
“This goes against AGLC guidelines that, simply put, push for money spent at a casino to stay in the community it’s spent in.”
Camrose Casino to be 60,000 square feet
Despite all the squabbling, some die-hard punters may still be salivating at the proposed relocation due to some huge upgrades.
Currently the casino only holds 208 slots machines, 10 table games and four poker tables.
But should it relocate to Parsons Road, gamers will have access to 550 slots and 25 tables games.
Here’s a few of the other planned features:
- 60,000 square foot casino
- 2 poker tables (estimated)
- 120 hotel rooms
- Show lounge
- Conference facilities
The AGLC will make a decision on Camrose later this year. And the casino will move before the end of 2024, if approved.