Fraser Downs general manager Chuck Keeling was not
high-fiving with members of his staff Tuesday but there
was a sign of a glint in his eye. Even cynical staffers
agreed it was not a tear.
It's all because the Downs has made the turn into the
homestretch with the wire in sight in its marathon race
to add slot machines to its horse racing gaming
On Monday Surrey city council's gaming committee voted
6-1 to approve the addition of 300 slots to the
"Last night was a milestone,"
Keeling said. "We are thrilled the mayor (Doug McCallum)
and council conceptually endorsed the plan."
Keeling has led a campaign of six years to get slot
machines at the track and thereby put the biggest B.C.
harness racing facility on an equal playing field with
others across the country. It has been a tough
"We see it (the council committee's decision) as the
biggest step in a multi-step process," Keeling said.
He added the next step has the track in the process of
fleshing out a definitive overall plan which would
involve architectural renderings, construction costs and
Keeling feels the end result would be much like a
"What we are proposing is not new in North America but
new to B.C. It joins horse racing gaming with other
forms of gaming."
"We will make this definitive plan
in partnership with the B.C. Lottery Corporation (the
body in charge of gaming in the province)," Keeling
continued, "and that process could take several weeks.
"We will then take the overall plan to the city for
review and if that plan meets approval we look forward
to moving ahead."
For now the glint will remain just
that and not a full-blown sparkle as Keeling knows the
battle down the homestretch can be the toughest.