Vancouver Considers Easing Casino Expansion Restrictions

The land-based casino players of Vancouver are about to experience a shift in their gaming landscape as the City Council contemplates relaxing restrictions on casino expansion in the province. The proposal, set to be deliberated on May 8, has sparked both anticipation and concern among residents and the stakeholders.

The Background

Since 2011, a moratorium has been in place, effectively halting any new or expanded gambling venues within the city. However, a recent staff report is urging council members to reconsider this stance, citing potential economic growth and changing of demographics.

BCLC’s Proposal

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) – the governing body overseeing gambling operations in the province – has expressed keen interest in expanding gambling activities at two prominent venues: The Parq Casino Vancouver and Hastings Racecourse and Casino. The proposed expansions would entail the addition of more slot machines and table games.

Current State of Affairs

At present, Parq Vancouver boasts 600 slot machines and 61 gambling tables, while Hastings Racecourse and Casino hosts 446 slot machines. The exact number of additions sought by the BCLC remains unspecified, pending further deliberation.

The Rationale Behind the Expansions

In a statement to Canadian Gaming Business, a BCLC spokesperson emphasized the need to adapt to evolving market dynamics and cater to growing player expectations. The proposed expansions aim to enhance the gambling experience while bolstering revenue streams for both the provincial government and the City of Vancouver.

Financial Implications

The financial implications of such expansions are not to be understated. In the fiscal year 2022-23 alone, Parq and Hastings contributed over $7 million to the city’s coffers, with Parq alone accounting for over $6 million of that sum. BCLC projects that further expansions could potentially yield an additional $2.6 million to $5 million annually, further solidifying the gaming sector’s role in fortifying municipal revenues.

Community Concerns

However, the prospect of expanded gambling operations has sparked debate within the community. Critics argue that increased accessibility to gambling venues could exacerbate issues related to addiction and social harm. Also, concerns have been raised regarding the potential saturation of the market and its impact on smaller, independent businesses.

Council Deliberations

The staff report presented to the council outlines several options, ranging from modest amendments to a complete lifting of the moratorium. Option 1, as recommended by staff, suggests amending the moratorium to allow for expansion applications at one or both of the existing casinos, thus maintaining a degree of regulatory oversight while facilitating potential growth.

The Profiles of Parq Vancouver and Hastings Racecourse and Casino

Parq Vancouver: A prominent fixture in the city’s entertainment landscape since its opening in 2017, Parq stands as a testament to the evolving nature of Vancouver’s gaming industry. With its sprawling 72,000-square-foot complex right next to the BC Place stadium, Parq has become synonymous with luxury and entertainment.

Hastings Racecourse and Casino: Nestled beneath the grandstands of the iconic horse racing venue, Hastings offers a unique blend of gaming and sporting excitement. Owned and operated by Great Canadian Entertainment, it has become a beloved destination for gambling enthusiasts seeking thrills both on and off the racetrack.


As the City Council prepares to deliberate on the future of casino expansion, stakeholders on all sides await the outcome with bated breath. The decision, whichever way it swings, is poised to leave a lasting impact on Vancouver’s economic landscape and cultural fabric for years to come.