It’s rare for a casino in a large and well established gaming market to be bleeding so much money, but that appears to be what’s happening at the brand new Parq Casino in Vancouver.
The luxury hotel and casino in the downtown core has lost $108 million in 2018 so far, according to a report by CTV News.
That’s a stark drop off from the $28.3 million in profit it made in the final months of 2017 after opening in the spring.
“Its financial performance has been disappointing,” Jonathan Goodman, CEO of Dundee Corporation, the casino’s parent company, told investors, according to CTV. “It’s very frustrating but we are actively seeking solutions.”
The facility was formerly called the Edgewater Casino, but after a $600 million renovation, it was renamed Parq, billing itself as “new international entertainment destination.”
So far, though, the new casino has been a financial flop.
Management Fingers New Anti-Crime Rules
What’s to blame for the posh casino bleeding green? Goodman pins much of the fault on new anti-money laundering rules in British Columbia (BC).
Earlier this year, a report revealed that international crime organizations had been using BC’s casinos to launder the proceeds of their dirty money. Attorney General David said that the government was aware of the activity going back to 2011 and accused them of turning a blind eye in the name of profit.
The shocking report led to a rash of investigations and new rules being put in place, including the implementation of “cash babysitters” who have been brought in to make sure that casino staffers are properly handling all large cash transactions.
While the new rules may be cutting down on criminal gains, they aren’t boosting the bottom line for casinos.
“At Parq Vancouver, the ramp up of operations proceeded at a slower than anticipated pace,” Goodman told CTV in August, “and continued to be exacerbated by the recent implementation of anti-money laundering initiatives which are having an adverse impact on the gaming industry in British Columbia.”
The new guidelines are apparently what led to rapper Drake to be turned away from the Parq Casino earlier this month.
The Canadian superstar made claims of racial profiling when he was told that he wasn’t allowed to gamble after a recent concert. However, casino officials denied those allegations, saying that the strict new rules require all patrons to prove the source of their funds before being allowed to gamble for high stakes.
With the city of Vancouver taking some $9 million in profits from the casino annually, the fact that it’s now running a deficit has caught the attention of local officials.
“I do think the city of Vancouver needs to look at that,” city councilor Melissa De Genova told CTV. “Are we dependent on this revenue?”
However, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) says it has no plans to change the new rules.
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