Cascades Casino Kamloops revenues dropped by $11 million last year — the year in which casino workers at four B.C. Interior casinos, including Kamloops, went on strike for several months.
The BCLC Gambling Service Provider Commissions Report notes revenues at the Aberdeen casino totalled $24.2 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, compared to $35.2 million in 2017-2018.
Slot machines made up the bulk of the revenue, at $22.6 million in 2018-2019 — but slid compared to $31.6 million in 2017. Table revenue also dove, totalling $1.6 million in 2018, compared to $3.7 million in 2017-2018.
Casino workers went on strike in June of 2018 and were on the picket lines until November, when a new collective agreement between Gateway Casinos and Entertainment and the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union was reached.
The BCGEU represents more than 600 employees at Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton, Playtime Casino in Kelowna and Lake City Casino in Vernon. The four-year deal included an average 23.5 per cent wage increase, in addition to improved benefits.
The City of Kamloops receives 10 per cent of revenue from casinos in the community. The city’s corporate services director, Kathy Humphrey, said the significant drop in revenue at Cascades did not severely impact city hall’s coffers.
Humphrey said the city was down $120,000 from the previous fiscal year, noting the money had not yet allocated. The city typically receives about $2.7 million in gaming funds annually, but does not allocate the funds until they are received as they are not guaranteed.
Humphrey said the city did not get hit as hard as it could have when it came to gaming grants, as a result of the city having two casino facilities. Essentially, the gamblers who normally visited Cascades simply drove across the river during the labour dispute and kept playing at Chances Casino in Brocklehurst.
The report also notes that Chances’ revenues increased last year. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, revenues at the facility totalled $23.5 million, up $4.3 million from 2017-2018, when it reported $19.2 million in revenues. Chances’ slot revenue shot up, to $22.4 million in 2018-2019, compared to $15.8 million in 2017-2018.
Communities such as Vernon were more likely to take a greater hit as a result of the Gateway Casinos strike, with only one casino in town.