Delta Still Pushing for Cashless Cascades Casino Delta

As Gateway Casinos & Entertainment makes progress toward the building of Cascades Casino Delta in British Columbia, the city of Delta continues to push for the property to be the first cashless casino of its kind in Canada.

The city is now requesting that the federal and provincial governments study the idea of cashless casinos and its potential impact on preventing money laundering.

A Novel Idea Presents Potential Hurdles

The idea first came from Delta Mayor George Harvie in early 2019. Using new technology, the new Cascades Casino Delta could operate on electronic financial transactions only for table games and slot machines. No cash.

According to Harvie, a cashless casino could reduce the chances of the new property becoming intertwined in the current money laundering troubles in British Columbia.

Harvie suggested that a delegation of city officials go to Ottawa with him to meet with federal government officials. Not only did Harvie want to show that Delta was at the forefront of this idea, he wanted to ensure that it would be legal and approved.

The problem? Harvie didn’t want to jeopardize the casino project.

It took years of pushing the project to get it approved in the first place. Concerns abounded from people in the community to those in the nearby city of Richmond, each with concerns about the location of the casino and its potential impact on the region. Many asserted that crime would increase, as would traffic and transportation problems.

But finally, in late 2018, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) approved the casino. Harvie didn’t want to raise any issues that might delay the project again.

Cashless Casino Issue Reintroduced

Harvie hadn’t been the only one interested in a cashless casino. Delta city officials were on board with the idea. And they have now officially requested that the federal and provincial governments in Canada begin a joint review of cashless casino gaming systems.

The basic question is: What would be the effectiveness of a cashless casino in preventing money laundering as compared to current regulations?

According to the Delta Optimist, a Delta City Council report explained that the concept is gaining traction around the world for its convenience and customer safety but moreover for its financial transparency.

And in response to concerns that cashless casinos could encourage problem gambling by making it easier to play more without seeing the cash it requires, the Delta report noted that new responsible gambling features would be added to gambling cards. There would also be self-limitations available to customers, as well as frequent account activity statements provided to them.

Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord had been speaking recently about currency security at BC casinos and focused on the recent money laundering issues in the province. “Systemic change is required beyond all borders of Delta,” he concluded.

While Dubord isn’t sure that the answer is cashless casinos, he assured that the police force will do whatever is necessary to keep Cascades Casino Delta from becoming ensnared in any financial crimes.

Gateway Casinos Unsure About Concept

While Delta officials push the idea of cashless casinos, Gateway Casinos Public Relations Director Tanya Gabara seemed concerned. She didn’t disagree with the concept as much as its implementation. She noted that no casino in all of North America has yet moved to completely cashless betting.

“There are currently many cashless options in BC casinos, including debit and credit cards, bank drafts, and electronic funds transfers. Out industry is always looking at adding new payment options, but cash will always continue to be part of the payment mix,” Gabara said.

The BCLC is more open to its possibilities, having considered the option itself. The regulator explained, “BCLC is at the initial stags of analyzing the potential for account-based gambling in casinos as it believes there are opportunities to enhance BCLC’s anti-money laundering program, the player experience, and player health through an account-based system that could further reduce the amount of cash brought in by customers.”

Eyeing 2020 Opening

The opening of Cascades Casino Delta is still likely a year away. The tentative opening date remains October or November 2020.

The $70 million project received its final approvals in late 2018 and early 2019. By April of this year, Gateway Casinos was able to announce that the site preparations were then set to begin.

Its first step was demolishing the old Town and Country Inn building. The second step was to begin the lengthy construction process on the 11-acre lot at the junction of Highway 17A and Highway 99.

Cascades Casino Delta will offer a casino with 500 slot machines and 24 table games in a 42,227-square-foot space. After six months of operations, the BCLC will review all pertinent documents to decide if the number of gaming machines and tables will be reduced or increased.

There will also be an attached five-story hotel with 124 rooms and three restaurants on site.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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