Casino wants to expand liquor area

Chances Casino is trying to expand its drinking area as well extend the hours it can serve alcohol

Chances Casino is trying to expand its drinking area as well extend the hours it can serve alcohol.

K&T Properties has applied to the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch to extend the casino’s alcohol-permitted area from part of the gaming floor to cover the entire gaming floor and increase the licence capacity to 419 people – the maximum allowed in the building at one time.

The casino also wants to extend the hours it can sell alcohol from 11 p.m. seven nights a week to 1 a.m. seven nights a week.

Art Villa, representing Chances, told council last week that according to a May, 2011 survey, 70 per cent of the guests visiting the Campbell River gaming centre are locals and 85 per cent of the guests are 45 years of age or older.

“Our business is adult specific and as the survey shows, most are over 45 years and adults expect to be able to have a drink,” Villa said. “We’ve been serving liquor since 2008 and there’s been no problems, no significant issues in that time on site. Our guests are not rowdy, based on the demographics.”

Debra Cunningham, general manager of Quay West Kitchen and Catering, said in a letter to council that she has seen a different side and is opposed to Chances more than doubling the area where people are permitted to drink alcohol.

“I recently took a look at the newly extended bar area,” Cunningham wrote. “Two staff members were seated in the area eating. I saw one of their guests passed out in one of the chairs and mentioned it to the staff. They agreed the guy was definitely sleeping and did not respond to the incident. Liquor law clearly states that intoxicated guests must leave the licensed premises. This was 5 o’clock in the evening. I feel their primary focus is gaming and 169 guests consuming alcohol is enough responsibility for this property to maintain. They do not need to more than double the occupant load. I think it will be more problematic and less enjoyable for people who just want to enjoy the gaming.”

Villa disputed Cunningham’s claims and said Chances is responsible when it comes to serving alcohol and requires all of its staff to have Serving It Right – even those not serving alcohol.

He added that staff cannot “admit to the premises, nor serve, anyone who appears intoxicated” and that a guest “can have one drink at a time and you have to finish that drink before you can have another.

“Chances Campbell River is responsible,” Villa stressed.

City staff recommended city council endorse Chances’ applications based on the casino’s clientele leaning towards the middle-aged, a group not associated with rowdy behaviour, and the fact Chances’ other fully-licensed gaming centres in Courtenay, Langley and Abbotsford, are all licensed for a capacity equal to the occupant load and have hours of service from 10 a.m.-1 a.m.

Council in the end voted in favour of endorsing Chances’ application to the liquor control branch to extend its service hours and expand its licensed area.