UPDATED: Slot machine increase to go to public hearing

Abbotsford council agrees to hear public debate before deciding on chances Community Gaming Centre's request for more slot machines.

The public will get its say on more slot machines in the city.

Council agreed to hold a public hearing on a request to increase the number of slots at Chances Community Gaming Centre on Peardonville Road.

Playtime Gaming, which runs Chances, wants to expand from 125 machines to as many as 300. The B.C. Lottery Corporation would control the rate of expansion, likely adding 50 machines at a time, based on demand. The floor space at Chances limits the total allowable units to 300.

Currently, there is a city-imposed covenant limiting the number to 125.

Coun. Henry Braun expressed some concerns as to whether council could cap the amount of slot machines to less than 300, but was told staff would have to investigate his question further with the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

Coun. Bill MacGregor proposed deferring the public hearing until that question was answered, but other councillors did not agree.

“I would prefer that we just move this forward to a public hearing and get the ball rolling and get the answers to those questions in the meantime,” said Coun. Patricia Ross.

Coun. Simon Gibson has been against the expansion from the beginning and reiterated his objections to the proposal.

“Of course, BC Lotteries would like to max out as many slot machines as they could possibly get in there. I mean, it’s revenue for them. So let’s not be surprised if they don’t want this council to have any control,” said Gibson.

No date has been set for a public hearing.

This is the second time in two months that the slot expansion issue has been in front of council.

At the end of January, council denied the request, but Mayor Bruce Banman used his prerogative and brought the issue back for reconsideration.