SURREY (NEWS1130) – South Surrey is one step closer to getting a huge casino.

It was a packed house at Surrey City Hall last night. Dozens of people turned up to see council approve a staff report on the South Surrey Entertainment Complex and a public hearing next month for the proposed mega casino.

About two thirds of the crowd were Gateway Casino employees who were in support of the project and the jobs that would come with it. Many were dressed in blue shirts with Gateway Casino logos and ‘Strong Surrey’ in big, bold letters across the front.

“We want the casino to be here so there will be more job opportunities for people,” says one worker.
      
But there was also a strong presence from those opposed to the project; almost all of them had buttons and signs saying “No Casinos.”
    
“I know a lot of people who have gambling addictions and are in trouble that way. That’s a very serious thing to me… an addiction to gambling. And it being in our backyard like that with all these types of problems… [it] could be very serious to our health,” says Lynn who lives within a five kilometre radius of the proposed site.

“I don’t hope that in my future I’ll have to work at a casino everyday or I’ll have someone around me who always has problems in the family due to gambling,” argues Lisa, a South Surrey high school student.

“I see owls that swoop that property, deer, and coyotes. Other casino developments have already been developed in industrial areas. I don’t think it’s a proper fit… it’s about the environment. It’s about location. It’s about property value,” adds Kathleen.
    
“They encourage people to give money away that they can’t afford. Have you ever been to Las Vegas? Most of the people there are not happy, and I want to see people happy,” says long time South Surrey resident Martin.    
    
Others are worried about traffic and the sustainability of jobs in the area.

Those hoping to get their voices heard can do so on January 14. That meeting is expected to be just as busy as last night’s.