(Kamloops) Members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) on strike at Gateway Casinos' four Thompson-Okanagan casinos are gathering at BC Lottery Corporation's (BCLC) head office in Kamloops on Monday, August 20 at 12pm to call upon the regulatory body to investigate whether or not the casinos are operating safely during the strike.
"We've got questions about how Gateway Casinos have been operating their Thompson-Okanagan casinos," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "Based on what our members have witnessed and reports we've heard, it sounds like Gateway hasn't been living up to their obligations under BCLC and provincial gaming laws and regulations during this strike."
In a letter, delivered earlier on Monday, the union asked BCLC to investigate potential irregularities in the casinos' operations witnessed by striking workers since they walked out in late June. The alleged incidents range in seriousness from failing to comply with regulations around ID'ing patrons to a failing to identify what would normally be flagged as suspicious behaviour possibly related to money-laundering.
"At a time when the entire casino industry is supposed to be under increased scrutiny, we believe the BCLC should shut down Gateway's casinos until the company can demonstrate that they are willing and able to operate responsibly," said Smith.
Gateway workers and their union are asking BCLC to investigate specifically whether the casinos are maintaining the security of casino assets at all times, properly safeguarding against corruption and money-laundering, complying with BC's liquor policies, and adequately ensuring the safety of staff and patrons.
Almost 700 BCGEU members working at four Gateway Casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan walked off the job on Friday, June 29 after mediation broke down with their employer. Workers are fighting for living wages, better working conditions and respect on the job.
BCGEU represents staff spread across Gateway's four casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan: Playtime Casino in Kelowna, Lake City Casino in Vernon, and Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton. BCGEU members work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.