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Venture, Urbanized, News

Las Vegas owner sells Parq Vancouver casino to Canadian firm

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Kenneth Chan Feb 01, 2019 10:44 am 27,442

The longtime owner of casino destinations in downtown Vancouver has sold its flagship Parq Vancouver casino property to an Ottawa-based real estate and investment firm.

Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming announced this morning it has finalized a deal to sell its ownership stake of Parq Vancouver to PBC Group for an undisclosed amount. PBC Group already owned a minority stake in the project, as it was involved in the casino development’s joint venture partnership and provided the project with development services.

“PBC believes that Parq Vancouver is positioned to become a central feature of the downtown entertainment district and will serve as further proof that Vancouver has become a global destination city,” said PBC Group president Paul Bouzanis in a statement, highlighting the casino’s future potential from the long-term plans for Northeast False Creek’s transformation.

Parq Vancouver opened to great fanfare in September 2017, replacing the nearby Edgewater Casino, which opened in 2005 at the Plaza of Nation’s Enterprise Hall. Paragon Gaming acquired Edgewater Casino the following year, and began developing plans for a new replacement purpose-built casino resort destination in the early-2010s.

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Lotus Lounge in Parq Vancouver casino. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

The $700-million, 775,000-sq-ft complex is located on the west side of BC Place Stadium and includes two luxury Marriott-operated hotels – the JW Marriott and the Douglas, an Autograph Collection – with a combined 517 rooms. A 72,000-sq-ft casino space within the second and third levels features 600 slot machines and 75 table games.

Convention space within the complex consist of 13 ballrooms, boardrooms, and meeting rooms, including the 15,600-sq-ft Parq Grand Ballroom, which Vancouver’s largest hotel ballroom.

Public documents show Parq Vancouver saw initial financial success in the last quarter of 2017, when it opened, with a profit of $28 million.

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Spa by JW, Parq Vancouver. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

But amidst growing public scrutiny and regulatory restrictions by the provincial government throughout 2018 to curb money laundering and crime activity at BC casinos, Parq Vancouver reported losses of more than $108 million during the first three quarters of last year, including an operating loss of about $18 million.

In November 2018, Parq Vancouver found itself at the centre of a social media firestorm, resulting in significant negative publicity, after Drake called out casino staff on his Instagram account for racial profiling him and not allowing him to gamble.

However, this was due to a new provincial government policy on BC casinos that required any player wanting to buy in for $10,000 or more in one or more transactions to provide a source of funds receipt.

Without knowledge of the new law, anyone entering a BC casino expecting to play big without proper documentation would be faced with disappointment. And regardless of the fame of a guest, skirting the law could mean a loss of gambling license for a casino.

“The milestones achieved in British Columbia – at Edgewater, Parq Vancouver and the overall community – are a testament to the incredible work of our team members,” said Paragon Gaming co-founder and chairman of the board Diana Bennett.

“We are proud of our affiliation with Parq Vancouver and we wish their employees the best moving forward.”

Paragon Gaming’s other casino properties include Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, and Hooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas.

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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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