After a decade of debates, Parq Vancouver opened its doors on September 29th, 2017. Construction for Parq Vancouver cost around $640 million. Making it one of the most expensive casino projects built in Canada. An impressive building Parq Vancouver houses a casino, two luxury hotels, and restaurants.

A little over a year later and Parq Casino is in big trouble. Instead of doing what most casinos do which is make money. Parq Vancouver is losing money. Recently, the casino posted losses of $108 million dollars.

Who is to blame?

Parq Casinos management has blamed  British Columbia’s new regulations.

“At Parq Vancouver, the ramp-up of operations proceeded at a slower than anticipated pace and continued to be exacerbated by the recent implementation of anti-money laundering initiatives which are having an adverse impact on the gaming industry in British Columbia,”  – CEO Johnathan Goldman

Anti-Money Laundering Regulations

Announced in January, Money SafeBC introduced a wave of new measures to tackle the problem. One of the new measures is proof of funds checks. These checks are to stop criminals laundering money through casinos. Money laundering is done through large cash buy-ins. Now, casinos have the power to check players using cash amounts of over $10,000. In the past several BC casinos have been caught up in corruption stories. British Columbia is hoping these measures help reduce the problem.

However, anti-money laundering regulations have been a headache for Parq Vancouver Casino. Most recently with Canadian superstar Drake. As reported by Drake was refused casino gaming at Parq Vancouver. Parq Vancouver has said Drake refused to cooperate with a source of funds check. This was denied by Drake who accused Parq Vancouver of racism.

” The worst-run business I have ever witnessed … profiling me and not allowing me to gamble when I had everything they originally asked me for”- Drake  (Instagram post)

Money problems

Bag with Dollar Sign

When it opened Parq Casino had a bright future. Finance reports seems to back this up. In 2017, Parq made $28.3 million. Now in 2018, and it’s a different story. This year, Parq Vancouver has made losses of $108.3 million. Out of the $108.3 million, $17.7 million is an operating loss.

Speaking about the financial struggles, Parq’s CEO said “Its financial performance has been disappointing,” Goodman also told investors. “It’s very frustrating but we are actively seeking solutions,”

However, it isn’t just Parq Vancouver that needs a solution. As part of licensing deals, all BC casinos pay dividends to local and provincial governments. Edgewater Casino alone sends around $9 million dollars to the City of Vancouver. A Vancouver Councilor stated ” “I do think the city of Vancouver needs to look at that,” she said. “Are we dependent on this revenue?”- Melissa De Genova

Any loss in casino income will hurt Vancouver. Like Toronto and Niagara, Vancouver uses their casino payments to fund public projects. All of these cities also rely on their casinos to boost tourism.

“In Niagara, less than 20% of [casino] traffic now comes from the U.S., but the community was able to develop additional business from the Canadian side and is thriving,” – Bill Rutsey (Canadian Gaming Association)

What will happen to Parq Vancouver?

For the moment nothing. In order to increase profits management at Parq Vancouver will need to find the problems. Johnathan Goodman and Co will also need to start working with the new regulations. Until that happens Parq Vancouver will be run at a loss. Something which Parq Vancouver and the City of Vancouver cannot afford.

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