According to the latest word from government officials in the Canadian province of British Columbia, the region has decided against a plan to incorporate slot machines on long-distance ferries. Officials said “Bon Voyage!” to the idea when it was determined that installing the slots would actually cost the province more annually – nearly a quarter million dollars, in fact – than any amount of revenue they might generate.
The concept was first introduced in November of 2013 by Transportation Minister Todd Stone, who announced that the ferry corporation was looking into the feasibility of setting up slot machines on BC ferries. At that time, it was believed that the gambling devices on voyages to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island would help produce more revenue for the department.
The original plan also called for a reduction in the amount of trips taken by ferries on 16 of their minor routes. To the dismay of older generation travelers, all senior discounts on passage fare were to be revoked as well. Those changes already went into effect last year.
The slot machines plan was scrapped on Monday after a report from the British Columbia Lottery Corporation revealed a different probable outcome than originally hoped. The BCLC said that, according to their calculations, the need to purchase and install the slot machines, as well as additional maintenance and staffing costs, would actually result in a loss of an estimated $240,000 per year.
Divvying Up Slot Machines Funds with US
Further complicating matters, the BCLC report indicated that the province may be required to allocate a portion of the revenue generated from slot machines to the U.S. State of Washington because the ferries in question travel through its U.S. waters.
Safety Concerns over Minors and Disputed Winnings
A large segment of the report was devoted to the subject of safety concerns among BCLC officials, who felt the addition of slot machines on ferries could cause more harm than good. The risk of minors being left unattended while adults gamble was one issue that arose, as well as the possibility of disputes regarding winnings.
“While relatively rare…” read the report, “disputes over game outcomes, thefts, delayed jackpots due to irregularities … and other issues carry the potential to damage the reputation of BC Ferries and BCLC, as well as cause delays in the boarding and disembarking of passengers on the vessel.”
BC Rejects Plan for Slot Machines on Ferries
Word came down on Monday that the BC government concurs with the opinion of the BCLC, thus they will not continue with the proposed slot machines program. However, they are still looking for ways to supplement additional revenue for the province.
In a statement announcing the rejection of the plan, Transportation Minister Stone said, “While the BC Lottery Corporation’s analysis showed that this idea wouldn’t make money, we’ll remain open to other revenue-generating services.”
One route the department intends to pursue is the refurbishment of amenities on the ferries. They intend to expand the current availability of gift shops, while relocating coffee shops to more convenient locations throughout the vessels.
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