Victoria may be the capital of British Columbia, but in the minds of many Canadians, it's more like Vancouver's little sister. Guess what: Little sister is all grown up now. Victoria has been booming for decades; at press time, construction in the downtown core is so busy, they're running out of workers.

Add one more project to the pile. The BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has decided to open a casino within Victoria city limits. It's expected to be a smaller establishment than the Great Canadian Casino in View Royal, about a half-hour drive away, and it could take a couple of years to build, depending on how the process unfolds – including the current labour shortage.

Expansion Draft

It's easy to see why the BC government would be interested in adding a second casino to the Capital Regional District. According to a BCLC report from 2013, the corporation brought in $829 million in net income that year from the 17 casinos dotted across the province, from View Royal to Cranbrook. That money gets used to fund health care and public service programs. The whole system provides jobs for about 14,000 casino floor workers.

But will the new casino take jobs away from the one in View Royal? That was the concern last year when the BCLC started considering new locations. However, Friday's decision to put the new casino in Victoria instead of nearby Saanich, and to make it a smaller one, appears to have satisfied Great Canadian Gaming. They could be ready to resume their proposed $20-million expansion of the View Royal casino after hitting the brakes last fall.

Crystal Pool Persuasion

There are a few more hurdles for the new casino to clear. An operator and a site have to be chosen, and the site will require zoning changes. Crystal Garden is among the potential sites suggested by city council. It’s a Francis Rattenbury-designed heritage building that opened in 1925, and used to be Victoria's social hub. It's a convention centre now.

Wherever the new casino ends up, it's expected to generate funds for both the province and the city. There's no word at press time whether the new casino will include a poker room – there isn't one in View Royal, although it's been talked about. But if slots and table games are your thing, Victoria will soon be your destination.