B.C. government folds on plans for gaming on ferries

B.C. government folds on plans for gaming on ferries

VICTORIA — Slot machines are out, but friendly games of cribbage or crazy eights are still options to pass the time on BC Ferries voyages.

The provincial government said Monday it’s folding its cards when it comes to running gambling operations on BC Ferries as a way to keep fare hikes in check.

A study found gaming on ferries is not a good deal. The practice will end up costing more money than it makes, the transportation ministry said in a statement.

The B.C. Lottery Corporation business analysis found potential revenues from gaming will not generate a return on the investment, resulting instead in a loss of about $240,000 a year because of added staffing, IT and equipment.

“Ultimately, the costs, risks and procedural changes required to operate electronic gaming devices on a BC Ferries vessel outweigh the financial gains of this business opportunity,” the analysis stated.

“The projected combined annual net loss to government (on Spirit Class vessels) is $240,563.”

A public consultation on ferry service and fares two years ago also included calls to consider using gaming on ferries to hold fares steady.

But Transportation Minister Todd Stone said while the new study concludes gaming on ferries is not worth the risk, British Columbians still support innovative ways to keep fares from rising.

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