Alberta Agricultural Society opposes Camrose casino move to Edmonton citing legal concerns
An ongoing legal dispute between a Camrose agricultural society and the owner of the city’s only casino is being raised as a key sticking point in the establishment’s bid to relocate to south Edmonton.
The Camrose Regional Exhibition & Agricultural Society, a non-profit organization, filed a letter of objection to Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis on Wednesday, saying the owners of Camrose Casino still owe the company a “substantial amount” of silver.
The company’s letter – which was obtained by CBC News – opposed the relocation of the casino to Edmonton and outlined five grievances about the potential move, including disclosure of legal documents and whether the AGLC had been aware of all the documents.
The letter was filed as part of a consultation process to move the casino to Edmonton.
In March, four months before the company became aware the casino wanted to move, it filed a statement seeking more than $1.7 million from Mayfield Investments Ltd., the owners of the casino, for money it still owed to repay a loan.
The company said it loaned Mayfield $2.5 million in 2006 to build the casino.
According to court documents, a dispute arose between the parties “regarding the operation of the casino and the debt owed by Mayfield to Camrose”.
The company alleges the parties settled their dispute in 2015, with Mayfield agreeing to pay the company $1.5 million in monthly installments of $12,500. But Mayfield has defaulted on many of its payments since April 2020, so the company is now asking interest on what is owed to it.
Mayfield filed a counterclaim in May, seeking $500,000 in punitive damages.
Court documents state that part of the original settlement agreement meant that the casino would only make payments “if sufficient cash flow was available through the operation of the casino.”
Provincial public health restrictions have forced casinos to close or reduce operations at various times in 2020 and 2021 to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
Mayfield argues the closures resulted in little money, so she couldn’t make her payments.
He also argues that the settlement agreement stipulated that any frustration or force majeure event, such as a global pandemic, would suspend or eliminate all payments due to the company.
Mayfield Investments Ltd. did not respond to repeated attempts to comment.
In its letter of objection, the company asked the AGLC board to vote against moving the casino.
According the AGCL websiteCapital City Casinos Ltd. requested the relocation of Camrose Casino from its current location at 3201 48th Avenue in Camrose, Alberta, a town approximately 70 kilometers southeast of Edmonton.
When asked why Capital City Casinos Ltd. is the listed candidate, a spokesperson for the AGLC told CBC News that any questions regarding the casino’s ownership structure should be directed to Mayfield or Capital City Casinos Ltd.
The company proposes to relocate the casino to an approximately 5,600 square meter complex at 420 Parsons Road SW, near Edmonton’s Summerside neighborhood, in the fall of 2024.
The casino’s current gaming capacity is 208 slots, 10 table games and four poker tables, according to the AGLC website. If the proposed move is approved, the casino’s capacity would be approximately 550 slot machines, 25 table games and two poker tables.
If moved, it would also provide a performance lounge and theatre; a hotel with 120 rooms; a 1,400 square meter entertainment and conference center; and a restaurant and bar dedicated to sports betting, the proposal states.
Objections to the casino move were due to be presented on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the AGLC told CBC News on Monday that the RFP is currently in Stage 2 of a three-step approval process.
The current stage requires an applicant – Capital City Casinos Ltd. – posts public notices in its community and allows the public to provide feedback, the spokesperson said, adding that the City of Edmonton and the Town of Camrose have been notified.
The company told CBC News it was not consulted by the casino’s licensee, nor by the AGLC.
The company says it became aware of the possibility of a move on July 22, when one of its board members found an advertisement in a newspaper.
Community organizations express their concerns
The company, along with the Federation of Community Leagues of Edmonton and the Edmonton Sport Council, are concerned about the potential consequences if the casino were to be moved.
In its letter to the AGLC, the company said one job in Camrose equals 80 in the greater Edmonton area.
“Relocating the casino would result in loss of jobs and economic fallout for Camrose,” the letter states.
Meanwhile, the Edmonton Community League Federation is concerned that Edmonton-based charities will lose an estimated $6.7 million in revenue, due to the casino’s rural classification, the organization said in an open letter. .
Under the proposal, Capital City Casino would stay in rural areas along with the St. Albert Casino, an AGLC spokesperson told CBC News.
“Charities participating in charitable gaming events at these two casinos benefit from the combined revenue,” the spokesperson said.
Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely declined to comment as the nomination is ongoing.
A spokesperson for the AGLC could not provide specific information about the comments it received.
A decision on the move is expected to come later this year.