10/03/2007 12:00AM

Hastings starting slots

EmailGreat Canadian Gaming Corporation has reached an agreement with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation to begin the installation of slot machines at Hastings, Great Canadian announced Tuesday.

The first phase of the development will see approximately 150 slots installed using existing floor space. It's possible that the slots floor will be open before the Hastings meet concludes on Nov. 4.

The second phase of the Hastings redevelopment will increase the number of slot machines to 600, subject to lottery corporation approval. Great Canadian anticipates the second phase could be completed by late 2008 or early 2009. Great Canadian will invest an estimated $40 million in capital improvements during the initial five-year term of the proposed operating agreement with the city of Vancouver, which owns the track property.

The city of Vancouver approved slots at Hastings in 2004, but a prolonged development permit process and a lawsuit by the Hastings Conservancy to stop the slots has held up the installation. The conservancy lost the suit and appealed the decision. The appeal is scheduled to be heard in January.