The Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis Commission (AGLC) has confirmed its decision not to allow Camrose Resort Casino to relocate to South Edmonton. Last Tuesday, the regulator held a meeting to once again decide against a proposal from the owner of the gambling venue, Capital City Casinos Ltd., to move its operations from Camrose to Edmonton.
Commissioners explained that the plan did not gain enough public support. Besides, the relocation of Camrose Resort Casino would negatively affect the local casinos and racing entertainment areas. Panelists added that the venue would generate limited gaming revenue if they approved the proposal.
Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, said that the relocation of the gambling venue would also have a negative impact on the non-profit organizations in Edmonton and their ability to perform services and programs that benefit the locals. Last year, Edmonton organizations opposed the proposal, stating that the gambling venue would divert some of the gaming revenue that funds charitable activities because the resort would be located in the city but would be classified as a rural casino.
In 2021, Capital City Casinos unveiled its plan to move the Camrose Resort and Casino to Edmonton. Last year, the casino operator stated that the casino resort would cease operations if it could not relocate from Camrose to Edmonton. Last November, Alberta’s gambling watchdog rejected the operator’s proposal.
Camrose Resort Casino’s Relocation Would Close the Gap Between Urban and Rural Gaming
In December 2022, the company appealed the relocation rejection. After a two-day hearing held last month, Capital City Casinos’ relocation proposal was again rejected. In a news release, the company stated that Camrose Casino had been doing everything possible to maximize charitable revenues and that the regulator’s refusal to allow the company to move its operations to Edmonton would “shortchange rural charities”. Pechet also said that rural communities and their leaders should be worried that the regulator unjustly refused the company’s relocation proposal that would solve the disparity problem and achieve a balance between charities.
According to data released by the regulator, charitable organizations in Edmonton receive more revenue from casino events and are allowed to host such more often than rural groups, which rely on the Camrose casino. The regulator justified its decision, explaining that policy reform would address the disparity issue and not the relocation of a casino.
In a news release, Capital City Casinos explained that if the relocation application failed, it would affect 650 charities. Patti Grier, AGLC’s director, said that if Camrose Resort Casino shuts down, the affected charities will be distributed to other casinos.
Paul McLauchlin, president of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, did not hide his disappointment with the regulator’s decision and expressed hopes that the charitable gaming system would be reformed. He explained that the difference between rural and urban gaming was huge, which was unfair. The regulator introduced reforms to its gaming and pooling system two years ago.