For the next year and a half, the Newton Square Bingo Hall will offer another game of chance: slot machines.
During Monday night's council meeting, Surrey city council approved the installment of 150 temporary slot machines at the hall, located at 7093 King George Blvd.
The request for approval was put in by the owners Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd., the company that is also looking to build a casino and convention centre at 10th Avenue and 168th Street in South Surrey.
"We just need to be clear so the general public has the information that these are temporary, it was already zoned for permanent," said Mayor Dianne Watts at the meeting.
The slot machines are allowed to stay at the hall for the next 18 months, though they may be removed sooner if the South Surrey gaming centre is given the go-ahead. Pending the gaming centre's completion, Gateway's plan is to close the bingo hall and move its gaming licence to the casino.
Coun. Barinder Rasode said she has been against the addition of slot machines to the bingo hall since the application first came forward a few years ago.
"They were approved in 2010 to open and then the building switched ownership - the site was bought by a different gaming company - and so as a formality, they've come back to open the vaults on a temporary basis for 18 months," she said.
"Gaming in a bingo facility, I think, draws a very different type of clientele than a destination-style casino and I just didn't believe that in the heart of a small bingo hall that slot machines are appropriate," she said.
PUBLIC HEARING ON NOV. 7
Gateway will present details regarding the proposed gaming centre in South Surrey during a public information meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Hazelmere Golf & Tennis Club, located at 18150 8th Ave.
Those who can't attend in person can submit feedback through a website that will be set up on Nov. 7 for the meeting.
Staff will send a report to the City of Surrey with information from the session, with a recommendation that council schedule a public hearing.
The city will determine the date of the public hearing.