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Big, fat casino downtown likely to provoke “nasty discussion” at council

March 23rd, 2010 · 22 Comments

When I started working the city-hall beat in 1994, I was plunged into furious debates about casinos. The Mike Harcourt NDP government was entertaining a proposal to have a big, destination casino on the waterfront behind Gastown.

The NPA city council of the day took the public opposition to that and ran furiously with it, holding all kinds of public meetings to allow people to rant about the evils of gambling.

Now, here we are, 16 years later, with that Las Vegas-style casino back on the city’s front door. Here’s what the current council has to say about the issue now: No, they don’t expect anything like the same opposition to gambling. But they do think local residents won’t be happy and, at the very least, will be expecting the city to extract some concessions in return for plunking Bellagio down in their midst. But the city has no bargaining chips, as it turns out.

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