The City of Penticton will be short $1.6 million from Cascades Casino after COVID-19 forced the business to close its doors earlier this year.
As part of the operations in the municipality, a portion of Cascades Casino’s income is shared by the province with Penticton.
That portion totalled $1.86 million in revenue for 2019, which went into the city’s Gaming Reserve.
The reserve is used for specific projects, with any usage requiring council’s approval. As of December 2019, the reserve held $2,630,767 in funds.
This year, after having to shut down in March due to COVID-19, the city has only received $338,000 from the casino, out of a budgeted $2 million for the year.
That shortfall has resulted in a predicted shortfall of $1.6 million by the end of the year, according to Angela Campbell, the city’s manager of finance.
Separate from the shared casino income, Cascades Casino also provides the city revenue through its lease, taxes, and utilities.
The lease for 2020 was budgeted for $286,000, of which the casino has deferred $175,000. The casino provides approximately $40,000 in taxes and $264,000 in utilities.
The City of Penticton is currently working with Cascades Casino’s parent company Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. regarding repayment terms for the deferred lease.
The city’s general manager of finance Jim Bauer noted that the city is in a stable financial position to continue deferring the payments until the casino re-opens.
When that might be, or even if casinos will be allowed to reopen before there is a vaccine, will be taken into account during the November planning for 2021’s budget.
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