Hotel, conference centre hinges on gaming expansion

Pomeroy Lodging eyes $25 million project in Terrace, B.C.

WHILE Pomeroy Lodging says it wants to move its Chances gaming centre to a new location and combine it with a hotel and conference centre, it’s been equally clear in saying that can only happen if the city lets it expand its gambling presence here.

The prospect of expanding the current number of slot machines at Chances here was a key factor in its purchase of the facility in 2014, Pomeroy pointed out in material prepared for a presentation prepared for the city council meeting here May 24.

And it says Chances here is busy enough to justify a slot expansion.

Travel plan complications prevented Pomeroy officials from attending the May 24 council meeting to speak in person but the company material it provided in advance further laid out its case for a slot expansion.

The facility is “the most undersized gaming centre operating in British Columbia as evidenced by high net win per slot machine and high attendance levels,” indicated Pomeroy in its presentation material.

“We believe this capacity pressure will increase with the economic growth on the horizon for Terrace which will detract from our ability to provide a high quality entertainment experience for the residents and visitors of Terrace,” said the company.

But Pomeroy and its gambling regulator, the BC Lottery Corporation, need the approval of the City of Terrace to increase the number of slot machines.

City council in 2012 considered and then rejected by a 4-3 vote a proposal by the former Chances owner to do just that.

The current Chances facility on Legion Ave. contains 74 slot machines and 144 bingo seats on 4,500 square feet of gaming floor.

That generated revenue of $12.7 million in the 2014/15 fiscal year, resulting in the city receiving $705,070 as its share of that revenue, indicate lottery corporation figures.

For its part Pomeroy says an expanded gaming operation as part of its hotel and conference centre plan would be 18,000 square feet in size with slot machines, table games, a poker room, a bingo room and a stage.

Not only would the project cost more than $25 million, but Chances says the complex would require 150 employees.

Although Pomeroy officials were not at the May 24 council meeting, Greg Walker from the BC Lottery Corporation was able to make it.

He said both Pomeroy and the lottery corporation would hold a series of public meetings to gauge public reaction to a formal proposal to increase gambling options here.

Walker did not provide a date as to when that formal proposal would come before council.