Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz is joined by Deputy Premier Rich Coleman as they chat with the first couple in line at the opening of Chances Community Gaming Centre Friday.

Opening night at Chances in Chilliwack draws a crowd

More than 800 people lined up to try their luck as the doors officially opened at Chances Community Gaming Centre in Chilliwack Friday.

More than 800 people lined up to try their luck as the doors officially opened at Chances Community Gaming Centre in Chilliwack Friday evening.

The line of people snaked through the parking lot as visitors waited for the ribbon to be cut on the sparkling new facility.

Music throbbed and elevated video screens flashed as the crowd grew.

Inside, Deputy Premier Rich Colman said the line up outside was evidence of the success of the government’s initiative to modernize the gaming industry in B.C.

“Obviously the people of this community have an appetite for responsible gaming,” he said.

The facility replaces the aging community-run bingo hall on Knight Road and replaces it with a modern gaming centre that features 150 slot machines, an electronic and paper bingo theatre for 250, and a 100-seat restaurant.

It is owned and operated by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation – a company that Coleman said has elevated gambling in the province to a new standard.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the centre will not only provide entertainment to residents, but will also bring visitors to the community.

“It tells me we should be very proud of what’s going on in this spot.”

Rod Baker, president and CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, said the Chilliwack facility provides one less reason for people to take their money to the United States. “Hopefully folks who have gone ‘across the line’ can find something now a little closer to home.”