Penticton’s casino revenues drop

City's share of casino profits down about $30,000 from last year despite a record profit for B.C. Lotteries Corporation

B.C. Lotteries Corporation produced a record profit last year, despite declining revenues at most casinos that meant less money for host local governments like Penticton.

Net income across all BCLC operations hit $1.1 billion for 2011-12 on revenues of $2.7 billion, according to its annual report released last week. Casinos and community gaming centres generated about 75 per cent of the total profit, while lotteries produced the balance. All told, profit was up $1.7 million over the record number posted in 2010-11.

However, at the Lake City Casino in Penticton, the so-called net win, which equals total revenue minus prize pay-outs, slipped to $29.3 million, down about $291,000 from a year earlier. Net win was also down at the Playtime Gaming Penticton bingo hall, which took in $2.4 million, representing a $132,000 annual decline.

A request for comment to Lake City Casino owner Gateway Casinos was transferred to BCLC, where a spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous said via email: “It’s normal for casino revenue to fluctuate from year to year due to variances in the local economy, and while there are those market fluctuations, overall the casino business is projecting moderate growth in the years ahead.”

Net win was down at 11 of B.C.’s 17 casinos in 2011-12, as were pay-outs to the communities they call home.

Penticton, which gets a one-tenth share of local casino profits, saw its take decline to $1.7 million, down about $30,000 from a year earlier and $170,000 from five years ago.

City treasurer Doug Leahy said last year’s drop won’t have a significant impact of Penticton’s finances as its casino account boasts a small surplus.

In addition to the casino profit, Penticton also receives about $4 million in annual development assistance compensation payments from BCLC, which it’s using to pay down debt on the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Penticton and 29 other host local governments in B.C. received a combined $83.1 million cut from gambling establishments last year to boost local spending. The province passed along another $135 million in gaming grants to community groups.

The lion’s share of BCLC’s net income, $696.3 million, was transferred to the provincial government’s coffers as general revenue.